“I am also pleased to confirm the EIB’s support for an additional €300 million of financing to accelerate local vaccine deployment in countries most exposed to the pandemic through innovative cost-sharing and generate a positive impact where budget constraints might otherwise hinder effective public sector health response,” said Hoyer.
The new €300 million commitment from the EIB builds on the Bank’s support for €1 billion of vaccine purchases over the last year. It targets the acute needs of sub-Saharan Africa, where the EIB is working with a network of African partners, including the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team. The innovative funding will ensure that African countries can quickly purchase more vaccines and double the percentage of their populations immunised against COVID-19 from 30% to 60%.
As part of Team Europe, the EIB has been a staunch supporter of COVAX, providing €400 million in December 2020, before any vaccine for COVID-19 had even been approved by the World Health Organisation or the European Medicines Agency.
The EIB provided an additional€200 million for COVAX in November 2021. Both engagements were part of Team Europe’s overall support for COVAX and backed by the European Union budget.
Including contributions from the European Commission, EU countries and the EIB, Team Europe has committed more than €3 billion to making COVID-19 vaccines more accessible around the world through COVAX.
COVAX is leading the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history. Rapidly put together at the start of the pandemic, it has delivered COVID-19 vaccines to 144 countries to date. Earlier this week, a shipment of 1.1 million COVID-19 vaccines to Rwanda included the billionth dose supplied through COVAX.
But much more needs to be done as almost half the global population has yet to receive a single vaccine dose. COVAX and UNICEF called for at least $5.2 billion of new funding over the next three months to create a 600 million dose stock that will enable countries with limited access to vaccines fight the spread of the virus and save lives.
Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation, praised COVAX as an example of “the power of multilateral action.”
“Global coordination and funding is the only way to defeat the virus,” he said. “In 2022, we can end the acute face of the pandemic, or prolong it.” World leaders have a choice, he said, warning that “persistent inequity has led to variants like Omicron”.
More than one hundred economies have received life-saving COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX, the global mechanism for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. The milestone comes 42 days after the first COVAX doses were shipped and delivered internationally, to Ghana on February 24th.
Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank, today highlighted the crucial need to increase financial support to ensure access to COVID-19 vaccines in low and middle-income countries around the world through the COVAX initiative.
Fair and equitable access to a successful COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of income, for millions of people across Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Pacific, and in Europe’s eastern and southern neighbourhood, has been enabled by €500 million of new European financial support for the global vaccine initiative COVAX. Team Europe’s engagement will accelerate global efforts to bring the pandemic under control and scale up distribution of a successful vaccine as soon as it becomes available.