Mass COVID-19 vaccination begins in Azerbaijan
BAKU, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Azerbaijan's senior health officials on Monday took their first inoculations of a vaccine made by Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech, marking the beginning of mass vaccination against COVID-19 in the country, according to state-run news agency AZERTAC.
EU doubles contribution to COVAX to €1 billion to ensure safe and effective vaccines for low and middle-income countries
The European Union has announced today an additional €500 million for the COVAX Facility, doubling its contribution to date for the global initiative that is leading efforts to secure fair and equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines in low and middle-income countries. This new pledge brings us closer to achieving COVAX's target to deliver 1.3 billion doses for 92 low and middle income countries by the end of 2021. Team Europe is one of the lead contributors to COVAX with over €2.2 billion, including another €900 million pledged today by Germany.
Announcing the new contribution at the G7 virtual leaders' meeting, President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said: “Last year, as part of our Coronavirus Global Response, we committed to ensuring universal access to vaccines everywhere on Earth, for everyone who would need them. COVAX is best placed to help us reach this goal. This is why we decided to double the European Commission's contribution to COVAX, to €1 billion. With this new financial boost we want to make sure vaccines are soon delivered to low and middle-income countries. Because we will only be safe if the whole world is safe.”
Jutta Urpilainen, Commissioner for International Partnerships, added: “We are in a race against the virus and COVAX is our best hope that all our partners, in Africa and elsewhere, have access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. The EU has been leading efforts in international fora, such as the G20 and G7, to guarantee that collectively we ensure that COVID-19 vaccines become a global public good. This is why today we are doubling our support to COVAX.”
Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, stressed: “Humanism and solidarity are essential values for Europe. These values have been our compass since the onset of the pandemic. The EU has invested close to €3 billion to pre-finance the production of safe and effective vaccines, which will benefit not only the EU but citizens across the world. Vaccines produced in Europe are now going all over the world and we as Team Europe are working to share doses secured under our advanced purchase agreements preferably through COVAX with the Western Balkans, Neighborhood and Africa – benefitting above all health workers and humanitarian needs.”
The contribution announced today is composed of a new €300 million EU grant and €200 million in guarantees by the European Fund for Sustainable Development plus (EFSD+) that will back a loan by the European Investment Bank. This is subject to the adoption of the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) by the Council and the European Parliament. The EIB loan to be guaranteed by EFSD+ is subject to the approval of the EIB's Board of Directors. These funds will complement a previous €100 million grant and €400 million in guarantees from the EU budget.
To date, a total of 191 countries participate in the COVAX Facility, 92 of them low and middle-income economies eligible to get access to COVID-19 vaccines through Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC). Most of these are in Africa. Through these contributions, the Commission and its partners will secure purchase options for future COVID-19 vaccines for all the participants in the Facility.
Vaccines will be procured and delivered to countries by the UNICEF Supply Division and the PAHO's Revolving Fund for Access to Vaccines. The fast arrival of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines has shown that multilateralism and multi-actor partnerships work to solve the most pressing problems of our time.
COVAX is the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, a global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.
The COVAX Facility aims to purchase 2 billion doses by the end of 2021, including at least 1.3 billion doses for low and middle-income country. It will help to develop a diversified portfolio of vaccines, negotiated with different suppliers, and covering different scientific technologies, delivery times and prices. The COVAX Facility is a risk-sharing mechanism: it reduces the risk for manufacturers who invest without being sure about future demand, and it reduces the risk that countries would fail to secure access to a viable vaccine.
The European Commission is committed to ensuring that everyone who needs a vaccine gets it, anywhere in the world, and to promote global health. This is why together with partners it has helped raised almost €16 billion since 4 May 2020 under the Coronavirus Global Response, the global action in support of universal access to tests, treatments and vaccines against coronavirus and for the global recovery. Team Europe's contribution was as follows: EU Member States (€3.1 billion), European Commission (over €1.4 billion) and EIB (almost €2 billion pledged in May and €4.9 billion pledged in June).
The EU's efforts to develop and produce an effective vaccine will benefit all in the global community. The EU investment in scaling up manufacturing capacity will be to the service of all countries in need. Through its Advanced Purchase Agreements, it requires manufacturers to make their production capacity available to supply all countries and calls for the free flow of vaccines and materials with no export restrictions. For instance, the pharmaceutical company Sanofi-GSK, with whom the Commission concluded an Advanced Purchase Agreement in September, will endeavour to provide a significant portion of their vaccine supply through the COVAX facility.
Building on the EU Vaccines Strategy, the EU is in the process of setting up vaccine sharing mechanism to allow EU Member States to redirect some of the doses procured under the advanced purchased agreement, preferably through COVAX.
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The news prepared in the framework of the EU project "EU NEIGHBOURS east"
European Union and WHO join forces to support vaccination against COVID-19 in Georgia
The European Union and the WHO Regional Office for Europe will work together in a major effort to support the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination in Georgia. The project funded by the European Union and implemented by WHO will cover all phases - constituting “end-to-end” support - of COVID-19 vaccine deployment and vaccination and will also serve as a major investment to strengthen the routine immunization system.
The project will be implemented by WHO over a three-year period as part of a €40 million European Union-funded initiative to support six countries in the WHO European Region in preparing for, deploying and monitoring rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.
Carl Hartzell, EU Ambassador to Georgia said:
“As part of our joint efforts to stop COVID-19, a proper and efficient vaccination campaign is key. The EU continues to stand by Georgia during the pandemic and is proud today to launch a new initiative with our close partner WHO. This initiative will support the complex vaccination rollout so that vaccines, when they arrive, are efficiently utilized and reach those that need them most.”
Silviu Domente, WHO Representative and Head of the WHO Country Office in Georgia, said:
“Vaccines offer hope and protection to those fighting on the frontlines of this pandemic and to those at highest risk living in fear of its devastating impact. Thanks to this generous support, WHO can strengthen its collaboration with the Government of Georgia to ensure that vaccines can reach those who need them most, as soon and as efficiently as possible.”
The funds will be used initially to support the first phase of preparedness and deployment, with an emphasis on imminent needs in strategic programmatic areas such as planning, equipment/supplies, training of health workers and information campaigns.
The project builds on the European Union’s and WHO’s ongoing support to countries’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the joint €35 million EU Solidarity for Health Initiative, aimed to support the partner countries in their fight against the virus and address better the needs of the most vulnerable people.
The news prepared in the framework of the EU project "EU NEIGHBOURS east"
HWPL Hosts ‘HWPL Peace Education Development Forum in Africa’
On February 6th, Heavenly Culture World Peace, Restoration of Light(HWPL) hosted a HWPL Peace Education Development Forum in Africa. 500 people from 24 countries in the sectors of African national education ministries, UNESCO national committee, MOU-signed schools and organizations participated to discuss ‘the Roles and Cooperation of Educations in the Post-COVID-19 Era.’
The host organization, HWPL, is promoting international projects in 25 countries to develop long-term peacebuilding in Africa based on the its initiative ‘Spreading a Culture of Peace’ also proposed by the United Nations resolution.
The forum highlighted the necessity of developing and applying a new educational policy to stop the disparities in education and human right violations such as sexual exploitation of children and women rampant in Africa during COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, speakers shared the examples of implementing HWPL Peace education curricula in their classrooms and reaffirmed the solidarity in promoting peace as educators in Africa.
A member of the University of Zambia Youths of United Nations Association(UNZAYUNA) as well as the case presenter of HWPL Peace Education, Grace Mutale highlighted the importance of HWPL Peace Education, “Through HWPL Peace Education, I realized that I am the answer to realizing peace and determined to take part in peace work.”
Deputy Director of Ministry of Education Kenya, Science and Technology, Bartholomew Lumbasi Wanikina said “Peace Education is important since through the teachers, children able to build and sustainable peace in their respective families, friends, community, workplace, and country. Therefore, as educators, we must disseminate the message of peace so that children can have peace and have a sustainable peace,” emphasizing the responsibility and the role of educators in building sustainable peace.
General Secretary, Cote d’lvoire National Commission for UNESCO, SORO N’ golo Aboudo said, “We would like to have an associated school so that this culture of peace program is taught in these schools, and that the children are really aware about the issue of peace and especially the issue of nonviolence.”
During the forum, HWPL signed a MOA(‘Memorandum of Agreement’) with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in Kenya, and signed Peace Academy MOUs(‘Memorandum of Understanding) with 13 schools. The department of peace education will work closely with peace academies to appoint and train on-and offline peace educators and conduct pilot classes on the value of peace.
Press-release of the HWPL
New rules for all airline passengers to Georgia will begin to apply from 1 February 2021
The Prime Minister-led Inter-Agency Coordination Council has introduced new rules for all airline passengers (both Georgian and foreign nationals) to Georgia. The rules will begin to apply from 1 February 2021.
More specifically, Georgian nationals arriving in Georgia as of 1 February will have the option of providing a negative PCR test and self-isolating for 8 days or, instead of self -isolating, taking a second PCR test at their own expense, on the third day from their arrival, and thus exempt themselves from the obligation to self-isolate. For Georgian nationals entering the territory of Georgia by air without providing a negative PCR test, the period of self-isolation will be reduced from 12 to 8 days.
As for foreign visitors to Georgia, they can freely enter the territory of the country if they provide COVID-19 vaccine certificates saying that they have received two full doses of vaccines.
Non-vaccinated visitors, who are nationals or residents of the EU, Israel, Switzerland, the U.S., Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain will not need to self-isolate. Upon entry to Georgia, including through transit, they will have to provide a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before their arrival and then take a second PCR test at their own expense, on the third day from their arrival.
The rules already applying to land borders will remain in force.
The Administration of the MFA Georgia
Визит Министра иностранных дел Азербайджанской Республики в Туркменистан
20 января 2021 года начался двухдневный визит представительной азербайджанской делегации во главе с Министром иностранных дел Азербайджанской Республики Джейхуном Азиз оглу Байрамовым в Туркменистан.
На следующий день глава МИД Азербайджана был принят Президентом Туркменистана Гурбангулы Бердымухамедовым.
Затем в здании МИД Туркменистана состоялась встреча Министра иностранных дел Туркменистана Рашида Мередова с Министром иностранных дел Азербайджанской Республики Джейхуном Азиз оглу Байрамовым. Дипломаты с удовлетворением констатировали высокий уровень двусторонних связей в политической, торгово-экономической и культурно-гуманитарной областях.
Было особо отмечено, что данный визит главы МИД Азербайджана в Ашхабад сопряжен с началом нового этапа энергетического сотрудничества между Туркменистаном и Азербайджаном. В этом контексте выделена значимость совместных шагов по ресурсоиспользованию и взаимодействию на Каспии.
Дипломаты выделили эффективность политико-дипломатического диалога между двумя странами. Они обсудили двустороннюю тематику, а также ключевые аспекты региональной и международной повесток дня. В этом контексте подчёркнута значимость сотрудничества Туркменистана и Азербайджана в рамках региональных и международных форматов.
В ходе встречи также обсуждались возможности расширения экономического и инвестиционного сотрудничества, в том числе с задействованием транспортно-транзитного потенциала двух стран, обладающих современной автомобильной, железнодорожной и морской инфраструктурой.
Особо отмечена значимость Соглашения о транзите и транспортном сотрудничестве (Lapis Lazuli) между Туркменистаном, Азербайджанской Республикой, Грузией, Турецкой Республикой и Исламской Республикой Афганистан. Как известно стороны намерены способствовать укреплению потенциала Лазуритового коридора в рамках созданного трёхстороннего межправительственного формата взаимодействия в области транспорта и связи.
Обсуждены вопросы расширения культурно-гуманитарных связей. Отмечено, что народы Туркменистана и Азербайджана связывают прочные исторические, культурные и духовные ценности. Обсуждены возможности проведения совместных мероприятий в рамках текущего года, провозглашенного Международным годом мира и доверия согласно резолюции Генассамблеи ООН, инициированной Туркменистаном.