The European Commission today signed an agreement worth €35 million with the Polish Development Bank to set up an innovative arrangement to support EU Member States in the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to the Eastern Partnership countries.
Poland’s role will be to help match available vaccine doses for sharing across Member States with evolving needs in Eastern Partnership countries, and to oversee any necessary arrangements with vaccine manufacturers.
In case of resale, the Polish Development Bank will use the EU contribution to compensate donor Member States for the vaccines on a not-for-profit basis. The programme will run until June 2023 or until the EU contribution runs out.
According to the World Health Organization, the average uptake of a complete COVID-19 vaccine dose series in the six countries stood at just 28.7% at the beginning of December 2021, while among health care workers it is 70.3%. The new mechanism will help partner countries reach vaccination coverage closer to the WHO global vaccination strategy targets of 40% of each country’s population by the end of 2021, and 70% by mid-2022.
The first delivery under this mechanism is foreseen in the coming weeks from Portugal to Armenia. A number of other Member States have already signalled their willingness to participate in this programme.
Expressing his gratitude to Poland, European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi, said the arrangement would help save lives in partner countries: “This is EU solidarity in action that will help accelerate the post-pandemic recovery in the region and increase overall long-term health resilience, which is one of the priorities with the Eastern Partnership.”
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