An additional €500 million has been donated by the European Union (EU) to the COVAX initiative, effectively doubling its contribution to €1 billion towards ensuring populations in middle and low-income nations are vaccinated against COVID-19.
The COVAX initiative is a global collaboration to ensure rapid and equal access to COVID-19 treatment and vaccinations in developing countries, most of which are in Africa.
The €500 million contribution comprises funding from a new €300 million EU grant and €200 in guarantees by the European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus (EFSD+), the Union said.
Ursula von der Leyen, the EU president, made the contribution known during the G7 virtual summit on Friday.
Europe has been one of the main contributors to COVAX, contributing over €2.2 billion in a bid to achieve the target of delivering 1.3 billion doses to 92 countries by the end of the year.
Jutta Urpilainen, the EU’s Commissioner for International Partnerships, equally reiterated the Union’s goals to see partners in Africa and across the world also have access to effective COVID-19 vaccines.
Stella Kyriakides, the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said the EU has invested almost €3 billion for the production of “safe and effective” vaccines, which are now being used to vaccinate not just citizens of the EU, but populations worldwide.