European Union allocates P132 million to support PH Covid vaccine purchase

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The European Union (EU) Delegation in Manila on Thursday said around 2.3-million euro aid (about P132.62 million) from EU would be used to directly support the World Health Organization’s (WHO) coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) response in the Philippines, with vaccine rollout as one of the focal areas.

“In December 2020, the EU has signed a contract with the WHO over 20 million euro to support the Covid-19 response in Asean (Association of Southeast Asian) countries. About 2.3 million euro of this amount will directly support WHO’s work in the Philippines,” the delegation said in a statement.

“One focal area will be on the vaccine rollout, including support to reach vulnerable and isolated communities in the Philippines,” it added.

The delegation also assured that the Philippines is exempted from the EU’s export ban on Covid-19 vaccines.

“No impact to the Philippines as well as to other poor countries as exports to these countries are exempted from the export ban. The authorization mechanism for exports of Covid-19 vaccines include a wide range of exemptions from prior authorization, to ensure the EU continues to fully honor its commitments to deliver the vaccine to our direct neighborhood and to 92 low and middle-income countries, including the Philippines, covered by the COVAX facility,” it said.

COVAX is the WHO’s mechanism to assure poorer countries also have access to Covid-19 vaccines.

The EU has so far secured a portfolio of about 2.3 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines for its citizens.

Its contracts include about 400 million doses of vaccines with AstraZeneca, 300 million with Sanofi-GSK, 400 million with Johnson and Johnson, 600 million with BioNTech-Pfizer, 405 million with CureVac, and 160 million with Moderna.

It also concluded exploratory talks with Novavax, eyeing to procure up to 200 million doses from the company and with Valneva with a view to purchasing up to 60 million doses.

Should all vaccines candidates turn out to be safe and effective, the EU member states “have the possibility to donate part of their doses to lower and middle-income countries,” the delegation said.

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