Moldova yesterday became the first country in Europe to receive vaccines from the COVAX facility, with the arrival on 4 March of 14,400 doses of the anti-COVID-19 vaccine.
The arrival marked a historic step towards the goal of ensuring equitable distribution of anti-COVID-19 vaccines globally, in what will be the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history. The delivery is part of a first wave of arrivals in Moldova that will continue in the coming days and weeks.
“We are the first country in Europe to receive a free vaccine through the COVAX platform and we are grateful for that. The 14,400 doses of Covid-19 vaccine will help us continue to immunise medical staff and reduce the spread of the virus,” said Moldovan President Maia Sandu.
“We thank all the states and organisations that support financially this global platform – Germany and other EU Member States, the United States, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Canada, the European Commission, Japan and others – for their solidarity in these difficult times for all. We also thank WHO and UNICEF for their efforts to distribute the vaccines fairly,” the President added.
The COVAX Facility is expected to deliver 24,570 doses of BioNTech-Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and up to 264,000 indicative doses of AstraZeneca / SKBio COVID-19 vaccine to the Republic of Moldova in 2021.
Team Europe, bringing together EU and its Member States, is one of the lead contributors to COVAX with over €2.2 billion, including another €900 million recently pledged by Germany.
“The European Union continues to support the Republic of Moldova in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic,” said Peter Michalko, Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Moldova. “An equitable and fair access to vaccines is a key element in ending the pandemic. The European Union and its Member States, acting together as ‘Team Europe’ are proud to support COVAX in delivering vaccines to our partners and today we see the first vaccines via COVAX platform arriving in the country. This is an important support for continuing the vaccination and the EU has been and will continue to be a reliable partner in this process.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, UN Moldova has offered immediate support to the country, providing assistance in three main areas: health system preparedness, technical support and capacity building, and information and communication on COVID-19, while the World Health Organization (WHO) leads the support of the country’s preparedness to receive and administer vaccines.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 180,000 Moldovans, including more than 10,000 children and more than 800 pregnant women, have been infected with the virus and over 4,000 lives were lost because of Covid-19.
Romania shipped the first donation of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine to Moldova on 27 February, allowing Moldova to start vaccinating frontline medical workers on 2 March.
COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, and the WHO, working in partnership with developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers, UNICEF, the World Bank, and others. COVAX has built a diverse portfolio of vaccines suitable for a range of settings and populations, and is on track to meet its goal of delivering at least 2 billion doses of vaccine to participating countries around the globe in 2021.
The EU’s response to the coronavirus pandemic follows the ‘Team Europe’ approach, aimed at saving lives by providing quick and targeted support to its partners to face the pandemic. It combines resources from the EU, its Member States and financial institutions, in particular the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
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