13 member states call on EU to help Georgia, other eastern neighbours receive COVID-19 vaccine soon

  • EU member states call on the European Commission to work on a support package for EaP states enabling them receive the vaccination. Photo: N. Jankauskas/LRT

Agenda.ge, 6 Jan 2021 - 21:24, Tbilisi,Georgia

Foreign Ministers of 13 member states of the European Union have called on the European Commission ‘to set up a support mechanism’ to allow the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine - ‘secure early access to COVID-19 vaccine’.

The letter to EU High Representative/Vice-President  Josep Borrell, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides and Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi was initiated by Lithuania and signed by the FMs of Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Sweden.

The EU is not safe until all the EU neighbours are safe, including also our Eastern European Partners. I believe that the current vaccine shortage is temporary and all member states will be gradually given access to a planned quantity of doses of COVID-19 vaccines”, Lithuanian FM Gabrielius Landsbergis said.

The foreign ministers note in their joint letter that the EU leaders 'have discussed and agreed to further co-lead the international response to the pandemic globally and to help other non-EU countries by providing affordable and fair access to the COVID-19 vaccine for all'.

The signatory countries 'strongly support the efforts and initiatives' by the EU member states and the European Commission 'to share the vaccines from the allocated contracts' with the closest EU neighbours, such as the Western Balkan countries.

At the same time they 'believe that the EU has to go beyond the current initiatives and give similar attention and support' to the other EU neighbours – the countries of EaP – 'if they wish so'.

We believe that our borders will not be safe if we do not extend our support to our immediate neighbours. Our Eastern Partners have on numerous occasions expressed their appreciation for the EU’s COVID-related assistance and pleaded for facilitated access to the vaccine", the foreign ministers declared. 

Meanwhile, today the European Commission has announced that the second COVID-19 vaccine has been authorised:

Georgian Deputy Health Minister Tamar Gabunia also said earlier today that Georgia is expected to receive Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines for COVID-19 virus. After Georgia receives the coronavirus vaccine, it will initially be available for elderly people. 

Georgia has reported 1,800 new cases of coronavirus, 489 recoveries and 20 deaths over the last 24 hours. As of now, a total of 7,911 individuals remain infected.