Belgium to coordinate Europe's vaccine donations to speed up global rollout

Belgium to coordinate Europe's vaccine donations to speed up global rollout
Vaccine delivery through COVAX scheme. Credit: Belga

Belgium has volunteered to coordinate the donation of Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccines to the COVAX programme, which aims to provide equal access across the world.

The J&J vaccines in particular "play a particularly important role in the immunisation campaign," as only one injection is needed, in turn speeding up the pace of the rollout, the Federal Public Health Service said in a press release on Wednesday.

This coordination will allow a large number of doses of vaccine to be delivered more quickly and efficiently to the countries that need them.

The FPS Public Health has signed a contract with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) - one of the organisations in charge of COVAX - and J&J to facilitate the coordination and will oversee operations when it comes to receiving, analysing and forwarding donation proposals.

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Belgium itself announced its intention to send four million doses of vaccines, that were ordered by the Belgian authorities but which will not be used, to developing countries via the COVAX scheme by the end of 2021.

The international initiative, led by GAVI as well as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), aims to provide vaccines to almost 100 countries to ensure a 20% vaccination rate in regions where the coverage rate remains low.

Sweden will handle donations for AstraZeneca, and France will coordinate donations of the Pfizer vaccine to the programme.

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