Italy triples COVID vaccine donation pledge

pharmafile | September 23, 2021 | News story | |   

Italy has announced plans to donate 45 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to other countries by the end of the year, three times its original pledge.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi announced the plan on Thursday in a video message to a US hosted global COVID-19 Summit, saying his country had originally pledged 15 million doses.

He said: “Nearly half of these have already been delivered and today I am glad to announce that we will triple our efforts. We will donate another 30 million additional doses by the end of the year to reach 45 million.”

The announcement comes as leaders from developing nations warned the UN General Assembly this week that COVID-19 vaccine hoarding by wealthy countries meant new coronavirus variants might emerge as infections increase in many places.

The Philippines warned of a “man-made drought” of vaccines in poor countries, with Peru saying international solidarity had failed and Ghana lamented vaccine nationalism. The United Nations chief described the inequitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines as an “obscenity.”

Speaking at the UN gathering on Tuesday Philippines President, Rodrigo Duterte, said: “Rich countries hoard life-saving vaccines, while poor nations wait for trickles. They now talk of booster shots, while developing countries consider half-doses just to get by. This is shocking beyond belief and must be condemned for what it is – a selfish act that can neither be justified rationally nor morally.”

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced on Wednesday that Spain will donate 7.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Latin America and the Caribbean and a further 7.5 million to sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Europe via COVAX.

Sanchez told the UN General Assembly that this latest pledge increases Spain’s overall commitment to the COVAX vaccine sharing programme to 30 million doses.

Other countries have followed suit, with US President Joe Biden pledging to buy a further 500 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to donate to other countries, which will put total US donations at more than 1.1 billion doses.

In a pre-recorded UN speech on Tuesday, Chinese leader Xi Jinping repeated China’s aim to provide 2 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to the world by the end of the year.

Kat Jenkins

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