Von der Leyen promised an additional 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to be donated by mid-2022, on top of a previous commitment of 250 million doses. Moreover, one billion euros (1.18 billion U.S. dollars) will be invested in production capacity for mRNA vaccines in Africa.
BRUSSELS, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- Vaccination efforts in the European Union (EU) and outside should continue so that "this does not turn into a pandemic of the unvaccinated," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday.
Von der Leyen made the remarks at her second State of the Union speech before the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. She said that despite more than 70 percent of the EU's adult population being fully vaccinated, discrepancies between countries within the bloc persist.
"We see worrisome divergences in vaccination rates in our Union," said von der Leyen, adding that vaccination efforts must also continue outside of the bloc, especially in low-income countries, as less than one percent of global doses are administered in these countries.
She promised an additional 200 million doses to be donated by mid-2022, on top of a previous commitment of 250 million doses. Moreover, one billion euros (1.18 billion U.S. dollars) will be invested in production capacity for mRNA vaccines in Africa.
The EU is also improving its pandemic preparedness with the proposal of HERA (the European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority). It will get 50 billion euros (59.11 billion U.S. dollars) by 2027, said von der Leyen.
The EU provided its population with 700 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, and the same amount of doses were exported to more than 130 countries and regions around the world.
The bloc supported its economy during the pandemic with the SURE (Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency) instrument, which provided financial support to workers and companies. Thanks to the SURE, the economies of 19 countries should be back to pre-pandemic levels this year, and the rest should follow next year, said von der Leyen.