H.E. Marilyn Josefson, Ambassador of the European Union underlined: “I’m pleased to confirm the first batch of 192 000 doses of the Astra/Zeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Tajikistan. This efficient vaccine is delivered through the COVAX Facility, which the European Union and the Member States support with over 2.2 billion euros. Fair and equitable global access to vaccines -is key to overcome this pandemic, as no one is safe, until everyone is safe. I’d like to thank the Ministry of Health and Social Protection and our close COVAX partners, WHO and UNICEF, for the effective cooperation, coordination and the planned national roll out of vaccines. First to front line health care workers and then gradually to the citizens of Tajikistan. The European Union continues to support Tajikistan in the fight against COVID-19. In addition, through a new four-year program, we will invest 52 million € in strengthening of the Health Sector over the next years.”
Through COVAX, Tajikistan will receive 624 000 doses by May 2021. This initial allocation will cover the vaccination of about 3% of the Tajik population, primarily the priority groups - health care workers, teachers and people over fifty. COVAX Facility is also providing technical assistance to the beneficiary countries to ensure effective vaccination campaigns. This includes for instance development of a national vaccination deployment plan, assessment of capacity for vaccine storage and distribution or preparation of a comprehensive communication plan explaining why COVID-19 vaccination is so important and who will get priority.
In the spring 2020, the EU has supported Tajikistan with an emergency response to COVID-19 pandemic through the financing of EUR 4.6 million of personal protective equipment for front line medical workers, and 95 ventilators for critically ill patients that were procured in partnership with UNICEF and the Ministry of Health and Social Protection. Most of the EU’s cooperation programs have also re-oriented their actions to address COVID-related needs, such as awareness raising, development of distance learning modules for online education, or support to farmers who received 60 tons of high yield potato seeds to mitigate the risk of food insecurity.
The EU has been one of the main donors to Tajikistan supporting the health sector over the past 10 years. The past two budget support programs, Human Development Support Program I and II have since 2011 invested EUR 56.5 million in strengthening the country’s health and social protection systems.
The new EU-funded Health Development Program worth EUR 52.2 million for years 2021-2025 was recently signed by the Government of Tajikistan and will be implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Health, WHO, GIZ and UNICEF. The program will strengthen health governance and financing, improve access to quality primary health care services and provide support for infection prevention and control across the health system.
The EU has invested billions not only into research of safe and effective vaccines, but also diagnostics, treatment, epidemiology, protective equipment, as well as modernization of health systems. The EU was the main contributor behind the development of the BioNTech and Pfizer vaccine, the first vaccine cleared by the European Medicines Agency as effective and safe to use.
Team Europe - the EU and its Member States with the European Investment Bank- has mobilized a global recovery package of €38.5 billion to help partners across the world address the immediate health emergency and humanitarian needs, strengthen health systems and support the economic recovery and social protection. The EU and its Member States are among the lead contributors to COVAX, considered as the best vehicle for delivering on international vaccine solidarity.
To-date, Team Europe has announced over € 2.2 billion for the COVAX Facility to help secure 1.3 billion doses of vaccination for 92 low and middle-income countries, including Tajikistan, by the end of the year.
The COVAX Facility is a global initiative that works to secure fair and equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. Lead international organizations - Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the Vaccine Alliance Gavi, and the World Health Organization (WHO) work in partnership with governments and manufacturers, as well as other partners like UNICEF or the World Bank, to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available worldwide to both higher-income and lower-income countries.