EU, WHO project will prop up safe vaccination in Western Balkans

Under the initiative will be developed and tested emergency preparedness plans

Photo: EU Olivér Várhelyi.

A new regional project worth over €7m to support safe and effective vaccination of the populations across the Western Balkans, was kicked off on Friday by the EU in partnership with the World Health Organisation (WHO). 

Its objective is to help prepare the region for the effective reception and administration of Covid-19 vaccines, including those received from COVAX and through the EU vaccine sharing mechanism with EU Member States. Improving the region's resilience against health emergencies, and support it in moving towards sustainable funding for universal health care are among the goal of the initiative.

Under the project will be developed and tested emergency preparedness plans, will be trained health professionals and information management systems for vaccine roll out will be put in place.

Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi, commented that with this new project to support vaccination campaigns in the Western Balkans in partnership with the WHO, the EU continues to deliver on its commitment to support its partners in dealing with the pandemic since its start.

He underlined that the project comes on top of EU’s €70m package to support access to vaccines for the region and to procure the necessary equipment for the campaigns.”

The new regional project concludes the launch of a series of regional actions benefitting the Western Balkan region totalling over €25m financed under the European Union's Instrument for Pre-accession (IPA). They are designed to address Covid-19 related health issues and help vulnerable populations in the Western Balkans to deal with the pandemic.

This package has also enabled the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control to perform a “stress-test” of all the Western Balkan's vaccine strategies, which revealed some important lessons for the implementation of the strategies. Next work will be on the surveillance of severe acute respiratory infections.

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