BRUSSELS — The European Union is committing 200 million more vaccine doses to Africa.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says the donation comes on top of 250 million already committed and underscores the EU resolve to boost global vaccination.
Von der Leyen called it an “investment in solidarity and it is an investment also in global health.”
African health officials have said they need about 800 million doses to vaccinate 60% of the continent’s population. As of last week, 145 million doses had been procured, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Only 3.5% of the continent of 1.3 billion people have been fully vaccinated, the CDC says, amid frustration over distribution, export controls and the rollout of booster shots in richer countries.
Von der Leyen says on top of delivering 700 million doses to Europeans and meeting the goal of having 70% of adults vaccinated this summer, the 27-nation bloc had sent the same number of doses to a combined 130 nations.
“With less than 1% of global doses administered to lower income countries, the scale of injustice and the level of urgency is obvious,” says Von der Leyen, adding the bloc is investing 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) to boost vaccine production capacity in Africa.