On 10 August, the European Commission increased its assistance package to deploy safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines in the Eastern Partnership from €40 million to €75 million. This additional funding will speed up the vaccination campaigns in the six Eastern partner countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine.
With this new €35 million assistance package, the EU seeks to substantially increase access to vaccines in the Eastern Partnership region, facilitating vaccine sharing by the EU Member States and reimbursing the cost. This assistance complements the EU’s support to the COVAX initiative, the world’s facility to ensure fair and universal access to COVID-19 vaccines.
The first package of support worth €40 million was launched in February 2021 to strengthen preparedness and local readiness for safe and effective vaccination of the population, in partnership with the World Health Organization. EU support included training of health managers and medical staff involved in the vaccination campaign, key logistical support for the delivery and handling of the vaccines and supplies, vaccination data and safety monitoring, communication and community engagement, as well as support for the development of a digital COVID certificate.
“The EU is determined to support our Eastern neighbors to speed up vaccination as this will be decisive for ending the pandemic and launching the socio-economic recovery of the region. We care for our partners,” Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi said. The newly adopted programme is part of Team Europe’s global COVID-19 response and builds on the joint efforts with the Member States and the EU cooperation with the WHO. The EU and WHO are working together on the €35 million Solidarity for Health Initiative in the Eastern Partnership, providing substantial medical supplies across the region, including over 11 million items of personal protective equipment, 12,000 lab kits, over 1,500 ventilators, oxygen concentrators, and pulse oximeters, and over 20,000 PCR testing kits.