The European Union, at the Global Health Summit held in Rome, said that ensuring access to safe and affordable COVID-19 vaccines around the world, especially for low and middle-income countries, is their priority.

At the summit, that took place on May 21, President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced that ‘Team Europe’ would share at least 100 million doses by the end of 2021 with low and middle-income countries, mainly via COVAX, a partner in vaccinating the world against COVID-19.

Team Europe – the European Union, its institutions and all 27 Member States – is on track to exceed this initial goal, with 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines foreseen to be shared with the countries in urgent need by the end of 2021, said a press release circulated by Delegation of the European Union to Nepal.

“Team Europe takes responsibility in helping the world fight the virus, everywhere. Vaccination is key – that’s why it is essential to ensure access to COVID-19 vaccines to countries worldwide. We will be sharing more than 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines with low and middle-income countries by the end of this year,” President Leyen said.

As per the commitment, more than 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from ‘Team Europe’ will reach their destination countries, mainly through COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX), by the end of this year.

Till date, the COVAX scheme has delivered 122 million doses to 136 countries. In parallel, Team Europe has launched an initiative to manufacture and provide access to vaccines, medicines and health technologies in Africa.

According to the release, the initiative will help create the right conditions for local vaccine manufacturing in Africa, backed by €1 billion from the EU budget and the European development finance institutions including the European Investment Bank.

On July 9, ‘Team Europe’ agreed to support largescale investment in vaccine production by the Institute Pasteur in Dakar, alongside other support measures. The new manufacturing plant will reduce Africa’s 99 percent dependence on vaccine imports and strengthen future pandemic resilience in the continent.

The EU has been the driving force behind the Coronavirus Global Response and the creation of the ACT-Accelerator, the world’s facility for access to COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics and treatments.