By Ayya Lmahamad
As part of the European Union’s efforts to support vaccination in partner countries, the European Commission has approved an increase in the assistance package for vaccination against COVID-19 and to speed up the vaccination process in the six Eastern Partnership countries.
The amount of assistance package to Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine has been increased from €40 million ($46.8M) to €75 million ($87.8M).
“With this new €35 million ($40.9M) assistance package the EU seeks to substantially increase access to vaccines in the Eastern Partnership region amid the global vaccine shortage, facilitating the vaccine sharing by the EU Member States and reimbursing the cost,” the commission stated.
It was noted that this assistance complements the EU’s support to the COVAX initiative, the world’s facility to ensure fair and universal access to COVID-19 vaccines, and work towards an equitable and transparent distribution of vaccines over the Eastern Partner countries.
Moreover, the commission noted that this comes in addition to the first package of support worth €40 million ($46.8M), launched in February to immediately strengthen preparedness and local readiness for safe and effective vaccination of the population, in partnership with the World Health Organization.
It should be noted that the European Union invested over $21.5 billion in Azerbaijan’s economy from 2012 to 2021. Azerbaijan’s trade turnover with the EU amounted to $9.3 billion last year, which is 38 percent of the country’s foreign trade. The Delegation of the European Commission to Azerbaijan was opened in Baku in February 2008.
Azerbaijan confirmed its first COVID-19 case on February 28, 2020. The country introduced a special quarantine regime on March 25 and took a number of measures to fight COVID-19 in the country.
The country started vaccinating citizens using China’s Sinovac on January 18, Vaxzevria vaccine produced by AstraZeneca on May 3, Russia’s Sputnik V on May 18 and US-produced Pfizer on June 7. The country started offering COVID-19 vaccination to citizens aged over 18 from May 10. The nationwide vaccination is free and on a voluntary basis and is in line with the “Strategy of vaccination against COVID-19 in Azerbaijan for 2021-2022”.
So far, some 5,478,042 COVID-19 vaccines have been provided to the citizens to this date. The first dose of the vaccine was given to 3,200,107 citizens, and the second one to 2,277,935 citizens.
Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad
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