Europe prepared to help Caribbean acquire COVID-19 vaccines

A senior European Commission official says the European Union is more than prepared to help developing countries, including those in the Caribbean, get access to vaccines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Until the whole world is vaccinated, we are under threat of COVID,” said Executive Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans.

“We cannot afford to let the developing world wait endlessly for vaccines, we have to take that responsibility. The European Union is more than prepared to do that. We will follow up on this and you will see also in the years to come that we will also put the money on the table that is necessary for that to happen,” Timmermans told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).

Caribbean and developing countries have been critical of the policies of developed countries in relation to making the vaccines available to them in a bid to curb the spread of the virus that has killed and infected millions of people since March 2020.

Timmermans, who is heading a 10-member EU delegation to the Caribbean,  told CMC that half of all the vaccines produced in the European Union is exported and that through the COVAX system, “we have pledged to help vaccinate parts of the world that cannot have access easily to vaccines.

“And we will follow up on that pledge. So we will take our responsibility there, we have been relatively successful at home in vaccinating our population.”

COVAX aims to accelerate the development and manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines and guarantee fair and equitable access for every country. COVAX is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi and World Health Organisation (WHO) with UNICEF as a key delivery partner and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) as the procurement agent in the Americas.