Portugal to “redirect” 5% of Covid vaccine doses to Timor, Africa – PM

  • Lusa
  • 24 February 2021

António Costa has said that the country would seek to "redirect" 5% of Covid-19 vaccines to East Timor and Portuguese-language countries in Africa 5%.

Portugal’s prime minister, António Costa, has said that Africa should be a priority in the provision of doses of vaccines against Covid-19 and that the country would seek to “redirect” to East Timor and Portuguese-language countries in Africa 5% of the doses it has acquired.

Costa made the comments in a pre-recorded speech for an event organised by Global Citizens, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that is launching a campaign to mobilise more funds for the global fight against Covid-19 – an initiative that has the support of the European Commission, the European Union’s executive branch.

Portugal has the presidency of the Council of the European Union until the end of June.

In his brief speech, the prime minister said that “support for international vaccination is essential for the eradication of the Covid-19 pandemic” and argued that “no country in the world will be safe until everyone is safe” from the virus.

“In addition to funding the COVAX initiative, which aims to provide vaccines to twenty percent of the population of ninety-two countries, within the European Union we are working on a vaccine sharing mechanism that could make additional doses of vaccines available, with Africa naturally being a priority,” he said.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, he went on, “over 3.5 million euros have been invested in means of prevention and combat, sending medical, protection, diagnostic and therapeutic equipment to the main cooperation partner countries – the Portuguese-language countries in Africa and East Timor.

“We will remain committed to this path, and we will make efforts to redirect five percent of the vaccines acquired by Portugal to our traditional cooperation partners, following up on local training and capacity building actions,” he said. “In this case, we really depend on each other and, therefore, we really have to count on each other.”

On Monday, the United Nations announced that Cabo Verde would be among the first countries in Africa to receive vaccines against Covid-19 through the COVAX global initiative, with a view to its immunising 35% of its population.

COVAX is a joint initiative of the World Health Organization and Gavi – the Vaccine Alliance to provide Covid-19 vaccines to low- and middle-income countries.

According to the African Union’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, based in Addis Ababa, Africa has so far had 3,830,631 confirmed cases of infection with the new coronavirus that causes Covid-19, and 101,350 associated deaths.