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EU to join global Covid-19 vaccine initiative, Commission says

Plan announced to boost Covax initiative for equitable vaccine distribution with €400m

The European Commission has announced that it is exploring how the EU could participate in an international effort to secure equitable global access to Covid-19 vaccines.

On 31 August the Commission said it had “confirmed its interest to participate in the Covax Facility”, and announced “a contribution of €400 million in guarantees to support Covax”.

However, it said the detailed terms and conditions for the EU’s participation and contribution “will be worked out in the coming days and weeks”.

It also said the EU’s participation would be “complementary to the ongoing EU negotiations with vaccine companies”, which some fear could, alongside similar efforts from countries including the United States and UK, send poorer countries to the back of the queue for vaccine access.

“Global collaboration is the only way to overcome a global pandemic,” said Commission president Ursula von der Leyen. 

Health commissioner Stella Kyriakides said: “Team Europe—[the] European Commission and EU Member States—is committed to ensuring the success of the Covax Facility and facilitating access to a vaccine in an equitable manner for all people across the world.”

Covax aims to buy two billion doses of a Covid-19 vaccine by the end of 2021 through negotiations with different developers. It was launched in April and is co-led by the World Health Organization, whose director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus thanked the Commission, saying global solidarity was “essential” in beating the pandemic.