European partnership to provide COVID-19 vaccine to Moldova and other EaP countries

The European Commission signed an agreement worth €35 million with the BGK, 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, including the Republic of Moldova, IPN reports, quoting a press release.

The role of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be to help match available vaccine doses for sharing across Member States, with evolving needs in Eastern Partnership countries and oversee any necessary arrangements with vaccine manufacturers and ensure adequate. The program will run until June 2023 or until the EU contribution is exhausted.

“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,” said Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi”.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland Zbigniew Rau said the Eastern Partnership countries are among the main priorities of Polish development policy with numerous project and initiatives financed and carried out every year. “This Team Europe initiative facilitated and coordinated by Poland aims at ensuring free, fair and sustainable access to vaccines against COVID-19 for the Eastern Partnership countries is yet another example of solidarity with this region. Poland, in consultation with the European Commission, will have a coordinating role in the process of distributing the vaccines,” noted the official.

The Eastern Partnership covers Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. Around a third of all administered doses in the Eastern Partnership has been provided by the EU, either directly through vaccine-sharing, or indirectly through COVAX.

According to WHO, the average uptake of a complete COVID-19 vaccine dose series in the six countries stands just 28.7%1 at the beginning of December 2021, while among health care workers it is 70.3%. The mechanism will help partner countries reach vaccination coverage closer to the WHO global vaccination strategy targets: 40% of each country’s population by the end of 2021, and 70% by mid-2022.

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