International Partnership Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen: COVAX will start vaccines deliveries to 18 countries by the end of February

February 4, 2021
Share on

“Distributing vaccines globally is our exit strategy from the pandemic,” International Partnership Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen told the European Parliament’s Development Committee, adding that the Commission will coordinate a “common EU vaccine sharing mechanism”, in which EU countries can donate part of their vaccines through the COVAX program, especially when vaccine production is scaled up.

The EU is also seeking to scale up production capacity in developing countries and to contribute to strengthening their regulatory framework in the pharmaceutical field, she said.

“The main tool that the EU can help developing countries with” remains the COVAX assistance program, which aims to deliver vaccines to poorer countries and to which the EU contributed by €850 million, said the commissioner. She announced that COVAX will start deliveries to 18 countries, including 12 low and medium income ones, by the end of February, Urpileinen added.

Welcoming EU’s involvement in the COVAX assistance program and its focus on distributing vaccines to developing countries in need, several MEPs nevertheless questioned the strategy of vaccine sharing, pointing to current shortage of vaccine doses in the EU itself.

Some speakers pressed for suspending vaccine patents as a way out: the EU must allow developing countries to produce their own inexpensive vaccinations instead of relying on EU charity, they said.


Read more

Press release

Countries covered:

  • Algeria
  • Egypt
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Morocco
  • Palestine *
  • Syria *
  • Tunisia