Speech by President von der Leyen at the Global Vaccine Summit - EU monitor

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Sunday, August 9, 2020
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Speech by President von der Leyen at the Global Vaccine Summit

Source: European Commission (EC) i, published on Thursday, June 4 2020.

Vaccination means freedom from fear. The coronavirus has reminded us of this old truth. Twenty years ago, governments from all over the world joined forces with the private sector so that vaccines could become a universal right, for all humankind. This is how Gavi was born. And the European Union has been at Gavi's side since the very beginning of this adventure.

In 2000, 10 million children worldwide were dying before their 5th birthday. This number has been cut to half. Gavi has brought life-saving vaccines to millions of families that could not afford them. You have made immunisation accessible to all across the globe.

The European Union is proud to be part of this story. The Vaccine Alliance has built a network and a playbook to fight infectious diseases. When the coronavirus pandemic begun, you knew exactly what to do. So it was natural for us to join forces with you, once again. In the last month, the European Union has helped raise almost EUR 10 billion to fight coronavirus and EUR 1 billion for Gavi's replenishment.

Our common aim, with Gavi and many other partners, is to speed up the delivery of an affordable COVID-19 vaccine for all who need it. To that end, we are ready to discuss the merits of a global COVID-19 vaccine procurement.

Yet Gavi's mission goes well beyond the current pandemic. We must keep fighting polio, the human papilloma virus, and many other killer diseases. Today, the European Commission is pledging EUR 300 million for Gavi for the 2021-2025 period, in the framework of the new EU i budget. This is more than all previous EU contributions taken together. And it comes on top of what EU Member States contribute.

In extraordinary times, we need an extraordinary mobilisation. It should not matter where you are born and how wealthy your family is. Vaccination is a universal human right. This is why Gavi was created, and why Europe will continue to be at your side.