Belgium increases its donation of COVID-19 vaccines to poor countries
Meryame Kitir, the Belgian Minister of Development Cooperation, has announced that Belgium will deliver 3.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to poor countries in the coming weeks. This means that Belgium is ahead of many European countries in meeting its commitments (4 million doses by the end of 2021) and even far exceeding them.
If all goes according to plan, and there is every indication that it will, Belgium will ultimately deliver 7.3 million doses by the end of the year. This is almost double the original promise. It is important to realise that these donations are more than an act of solidarity, since by promoting vaccination in every part of the world, we are preventing the emergence of variants that could then arrive here.
Vaccine delivery does not just involve provision, it is the subject of an agreement between the donor country, the recipient, the manufacturer and the COVAX logistics mechanism. It is not enough for the drug to arrive at its destination; there must also be sufficient personnel and equipment to administer it and the people concerned must be willing to receive it.
Deliveries have already been made to Rwanda, Senegal, Tunisia and Uganda since the beginning of the year. Belgium also supports local vaccine production, so that countries in short supply no longer have to rely on donations.