Meryame Kitir releases 4 million euros to make vaccine also accessible in developing countries

No country in the world will be safe from COVID-19 as long as not all countries are safe. That is why the Belgian Minister for Development Cooperation Meryame Kitir is making 4 million euros available for the COVAX initiative. COVAX is a global collaboration with governments and pharmaceutical companies to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are available and accessible to all countries worldwide.

Currently, most of the approved and available vaccines have been purchased by the 'richer' countries that turn very quickly to their internal needs. "Belgium is part of this, so we will not be short of anything," says Meryame Kitir, Minister of Development Cooperation.

"But in the meantime, everyone knows that COVID does not stop at our borders. We will only be completely safe if all the countries in the world are safe. That's why this international solidarity is so much needed now," says Kitir. "Our country must continue to play a pioneering role in this endeavour.”

That is the reason why Kitir decided to release 4 million euros for COVAX. COVAX is a global collaboration with governments and pharmaceutical companies to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are available worldwide and accessible to all countries. The facility has already been able to secure 2 billion doses and aims at releasing at least 1.3 billion in 2021 to provide access to 92 low and middle income countries. Vaccines are also provided for humanitarian organizations.

Kitir: "International solidarity is the only answer to stop COVID-19. COVAX is the multilateral initiative that will also give the poorest countries access to the vaccine. Our contribution - 4 million euros in 2021 - is not only a well-considered contribution, but also a substantial one. It is a powerful signal, taking into account our carrying capacity. This is the essence of international solidarity: each country contributes according to its own capacities.”

Kitir will also raise the issue of lack of vaccines for developing countries with her European colleagues. It can be considered how to quickly redistribute surplus orders in the EU, e.g. via COVAX. Kitir: "Because although the European Commission negotiates the contracts, it is the Member States that buy them.”