Government opts to donate 400,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to African nations

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AstraZeneca vaccine. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Estonia is to donate 400,000 coronavirus vaccine doses to sub-Saharan African countries as part of an initiative drawn up in June, the government announced Thursday.

The AstraZeneca doses have become surplus to requirements, although supplies of the vaccine to Estonia continued following a decision earlier in the year by many EU nations to suspend its use following reports of potential blood clotting as a side effect.

Estonia also participates in the EU's pre-emption agreements, the government says, and the doses will be donated to countries which have had limited or no vaccine deliveries so far, a government press release states.

The 400,000 doses will go to Mali – a country Estonia already has strong links with due to its participation in the French-led Operation Barkhane counter-terrorism mission – as well as Kenya, Uganda, both of which have seen Estonian digital and development projects on their soil, and other sub-Saharan nations.

The donation will be channeled via the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access initiative (COVAX), along with a further 400,000 doses which are to be donated bilaterally to Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries.

The EaP makes up the bulk of the nations immediately to the east of the EU and includes Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova.

The social affairs, defense and foreign ministries are organizing the project in conjunction with the Health Board (Terviseamet).

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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