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News / Commissioner Várhelyi travels to the Western Balkans as first EU funded vaccines arrive
Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi travels to the Western Balkans today as the first COVID-19 vaccines, shared and funded by the European Union, arrive to the region.
As announced by the European Commission and Austria on 20 April, in total 651,000 BioNTech/Pfizer doses will be delivered to the region in weekly instalments from the beginning of May to August. These vaccines will help to accelerate the vaccination campaigns, to ensure all frontline medical workers and some of the most vulnerable groups are inoculated.
Enlargement and Neighbourhood Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi said: “I am travelling to the Western Balkans to pass a clear message: We care! We care about our partners, and we care about their health care workers and the most vulnerable. The delivery of the vaccines confirms our continuous commitment to provide support, as we have been doing since the outbreak of the pandemic. Stronger together!”
The vaccines are funded from the €70 million package adopted by the Commission in December 2020 to help cover the cost of vaccines, secured under the EU’s advance purchase agreements for the Western Balkan partners. Austria has facilitated the sharing of these EU funded vaccines through legal arrangements with the producer and each Western Balkan partner. The overall distribution between countries is based on epidemiological needs. These vaccines come on top of those provided by COVAX, where the EU is one of the top contributors with close to €2.5 billion from Team Europe (EU and its Member States).
Source: European Union
Photo credits: European Union
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