By the end of 2021, Belgium will almost double its commitment to donate four million vaccine doses, Le Soir reported on Wednesday citing the Minister of Development Cooperation Meryame Kitir (Vooruit). At least 7.3 million doses will be distributed by the end of the year.
The doses will be carried out via the Covax initiative, an international framework overseen by the World Health Organisation (among others) to coordinate vaccine donations. Over the coming weeks, 3.8 million doses of Johnson & Johnson will be delivered to the scheme, with plans also in place to deliver Pfizer vaccines as well, Belga News Agency reports.
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"The Johnson & Johnson laboratory has guaranteed us a delivery of 3.8 million doses that we will be able to donate in one go. By the end of this week, we will know which countries need and want the doses," Kitir stated, highlighting that Belgium plays "a very important role. We coordinate the demands of all countries that want the Johnson & Johnson vaccine."
Since the start of the year, Belgium has delivered vaccines to Rwanda, Senegal, Tunisia, and Uganda. But Kitir insists that Belgium's donations are "not simply a charitable act" but rather part of ongoing cooperation with other nations. She stressed the need "to work on both the short and long term... In Senegal, from where I have just returned, we support the local production of vaccines. Countries should not only be dependent on donations."