European Union countries have so far donated four million vaccines against Covid-19 to poor countries. This is less than 3% of the 160 million coronavirus vaccines that will be donated to contain the pandemic. This is evident from documents from the European Union. It mainly has to do with AstraZeneca dosages.
The European Union has committed to helping vaccinate people at risk around the world, but so far the vaccines have mainly been purchased to help its population. In total, the EU countries have now received about 500 million doses from various pharmaceutical companies. That’s enough vaccines to fully vaccinate 70 percent of all adults. Outside the European Union, this percentage is much lower. South Africa has so far managed to vaccinate 7 percent of the population once and Nigeria only 1 percent.
Brussels had previously said that at least 100 million vaccines must be donated by the end of this year, but promised to double that on Thursday. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said EU institutions and member states together were “on track to exceed this initial target, with 200 million doses expected”. And it confirms that the promised vaccines “will reach the destination countries before the end of the year.”
The doses that have found their way to poor countries so far have gone mainly to the former colonies. For example, the Netherlands sent about 250,000 AstraZeneca vaccines to Suriname. In the end there will be 500,000 to 750,000.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has called on Western countries to share their vaccines with poor countries through the international Covax programme, but despite urging the European Commission to speed up donations, little progress has been made so far. The donated vaccines are AstraZeneca and, to a lesser extent, Janssen. In many EU countries, these vaccines are still of little use due to the risk of rare and serious side effects.
United States of America
The EU’s donations contrast starkly with those of the United States. Last month, they sent more than 15 million vaccines to countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The US has pledged to give up a total of 80 million vaccines, largely through Covax.
The European Commission notes that the European Union is working to establish vaccine factories in the Third World itself. Together, EU institutions invest €1 billion in their own production in Africa, von der Leyen confirms.
EU documents show Germany plans to donate 33 million vaccines as of August, 30 million of which will be AstraZeneca. France has pledged to donate 60 million vaccines, mostly to Covax. So far, this country has donated 800,000 doses, mainly to former colonies such as Senegal, Mauritania and Burkina Faso. But according to a French Finance Ministry spokesperson, nearly 5 million AstraZeneca vaccines have now been administered to Covax. At the end of the summer, vaccines from Janssen and Pfizer will be added.
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