Von der Leyen: Vaccines to Western Balkans “as soon as possible”

25 January 2021
Photo: Twitter / vonderleyen

BRUSSELS – EU leaders called for greater solidarity with third countries on the delivery of vaccines on Thursday, January 21, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the Western Balkans will receive vaccines from the EU as soon as possible.

According to Von der Leyen, COVAX system, which is intended for the procurement of vaccines for low and middle-income countries, currently has problems in the procurement of vaccines. However, she added that the EU is establishing “another lane” to donate doses to the Western Balkan countries directly from EU Member States.

She added that helping third countries to get vaccines is in the interest of the EU itself.

“The longer the virus circulates around the world, the greater the risk of mutations and the greater the risk to our health. That is why it is in our interest to share vaccines with other regions of the world at an early stage,” Von der Leyen pointed out.

In addition to supporting the Western Balkans and neighbours in the procurement of vaccines, leaders also discussed vaccine deliveries within the EU, vaccination campaigns launched across Europe, and vaccination certificates.

As the European Commission’s Spokesperson Ana Pisonero stated for the European Western Balkans, all economies participating in the COVAX system are expected to have access to doses in the first half of 2021.

The CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Seth Berkley said that thanks to international collaboration COVAX is ready to start delivering doses in February.

He added that that is enough to protect about 27% of the AMC population, with the prospect of more doses to come through the nations dose-sharing.

“Continuing with fundraising efforts and advancing further deals with manufacturers will remain a top priority for COVAX in 2021. With more than 190 economies involved, now is the time to demonstrate the power of multilateralism because we cannot defeat this virus without unity and solidarity”, Berkley pointed out.

(News source: europeanwesternbalkans.com)