Ensuring access to safe and affordable COVID-19 vaccines around the world, and notably for low and middle-income countries, is a priority for the European Union.

At the Global Health Summit in Rome, on May 21, President von der Leyen announced that 'Team Europe' would share with low and middle-income countries at least 100 million doses by the end of 2021, mainly via COVAX, a partner in vaccinating the world.

Team Europe (the EU, its institutions and all 27 Member States) is on track to exceed this initial goal, with 200 million doses of COV- ID-19 vaccines foreseen to be shared with the countries that need them most, by the end of 2021, said a press release circulated by Delegation of the European Union to Nepal.

President von der Leyen said, "Team Europe takes responsibility in helping the world fight the virus, everywhere.

Vaccination is key – that's why it is essential to ensure access to COVID-19 vaccines to countries worldwide.

We will be sharing more than 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines with low and middle-income countries by the end of this year." The more than 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines that have been committed by Team Europe will reach their destination countries, mainly through COVAX, by the end of this year.

COVAX has so far delivered 122 million doses to 136 countries. In parallel, Team Europe has launched an initiative to manufacture and provide access to vaccines, medicines and health technologies in Africa.

According to the release, the initiative will help create the right conditions for local vaccine manufacturing in Africa, backed by €1 billion from the EU budget and the European development finance institutions such as the European Investment Bank.

On July 9, Team Europe agreed to support largescale investment in vaccine production by the Institute Pasteur in Dakar, alongside other support measures. The new manufacturing plant will reduce Africa's 99 per cent dependence on vaccine imports and strengthen future pandemic resilience in the continent.

The EU has been the driving force behind the Coronavirus Global Response and the creation of the ACT-Accelerator, the world's facility for access to COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics and treatments.

A version of this article appears in the print on July 25 2021, of The Himalayan Times.