The European Union in partnership with the World Health Organization has launched a new regional project worth over € 7 million to support safe and effective vaccination of the population throughout the Western Balkans.
This project will help prepare the region for the reception and effective administration of COVID-19 vaccines. Activities will include, among others, the development and testing of emergency plans, training for health professionals, and the development of vaccine information management systems.
The decision was made public by the Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi:
"With this new project to support vaccination campaigns in the Western Balkans in partnership with the WHO, the EU continues to provide evidence of its commitment to supporting our partners in fighting the pandemic since its inception," Varhelyi said.
Following the package made public today, the EU has invested € 25 million in improving vaccination strategies in the Western Balkans. The total package of EU assistance to the Western Balkans in response to the crisis caused by COVID-19 exceeds € 3.3 billion, as indicated in the Commission Communication on Support to the Western Balkans in Addressing COVID-19 and Post-Pandemic Recovery. This includes immediate equipment support, medium- and long-term support for health systems and economies, support for businesses through local banks, macro-financial assistance in the form of loans, and a European Investment Bank (EIB) response package.
Moreover, the EU is one of the strongest supporters of COVAX, which remains the best tool to ensure fair and equal access to these vaccines and to give international solidarity to vaccines. Team Europe has contributed more than € 850 million to COVAX, € 500 million from the EU budget. This will be a major contribution to COVAX to provide 1.3 billion doses of vaccine to 92 low- and middle-income countries by the end of 2021.