GENEVA/ZURICH (Reuters) - European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Tuesday supported a call by French President Emmanuel Macron to donate COVID-19 vaccines to health care workers in Africa, as a star-studded event was announced to support equitable distribution.
“Vaccines are still scarce everywhere but it is in our common interest to share,” von der Leyen said in a webcast with the World Health Organisation (WHO).I
“And I therefore support President Macron’s proposal to donate vaccine doses that are necessary to vaccinate health care workers in Africa.”
The European Union has contributed an additional 500 million euros ($606 million) to the WHO-backed COVAX programme to supply COVID-19 shots to emerging economies, doubling the bloc’s initial contribution.
Global Citizen, an international pressure group that aims to end extreme poverty by 2030, launched a campaign to support equitable distribution of vaccines that will feature a broadcast special in May.
Artists scheduled to participate include Grammy-winning American singer-songwriter, Billie Eilish.
“A year ago I was three shows into my world tour, when because of COVID-19 we had to cancel everything ... The pandemic is still raging across the globe, and I’m still at home like most of you,” the 19-year-old said.
“But we’ve seen how we can create change, when we come together and use our voices so we’ve got to take action to get everybody access to COVID-19 vaccines as quickly as possible.”
Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, Michael Shields and Silke Koltrowitz; editing by John Stonestreet
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.