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Joint Statement on the EU Digital COVID Certificate and AU-EU Partnership on COVID-19 vaccines distribution and production

Addis Ababa 27 July 2021

This statement is issued in follow-up to the meeting held between Dr John Nkengasong, Director of Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Ambassador Birgitte Markussen, Head of European Union Delegation to the African Union, which took place on 22 July related to the launching of the EU Digital COVID Certificate and the broader AU-EU partnership fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both sides agreed to provide the following clarifications notably in the context of ongoing efforts by the AU and EU on vaccines distribution and production on the African continent:

  • With respect to the Covishield vaccine, distributed through the COVAX mechanism, the vaccine meets all the requirements of the World Health Organisation and was one of the first available candidates considered safe and efficacious through the World Health Organisation’s Emergency Use Listing (EUL) process.
  • Currently, the EU Digital COVID Certificate is issued to all those who have been fully vaccinated against the Coronavirus, with one of the four vaccines approved by the European Medicine Agency, which are: BioNTech/Pfizer, Moderna, Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca, Oxford), Janssen (Johnson & Johnson).
  • The EU Digital COVID Certificate does not at present include Covishield, as the Serum Institute of India (the manufacturer of the Covishield vaccine) has not applied yet for authorisation of this vaccine by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). We strongly encourage them to do so.
  • Beyond EU-authorised vaccines, complementing the EU Digital COVID Certificate, EU Member States have a national competence to include other vaccines having completed the WHO Emergency Use Listing process. Accordingly, 19 EU Member States have already given authorization for Covishield. Some EU Member States might in addition apply rules related to essential travels; those rules are updated on a regular basis against the status of the pandemic.
  • The Africa CDC Director and the EU Ambassador to the African Union reiterated the AU and EU’s commitment to continue working closely in the spirit of global solidarity in the fight against COVID-19. Ensuring access to safe and affordable COVID-19 vaccines remains the key priority for the AU-EU partnership. In addition to the substantial financial contribution to the COVAX facility (around EUR 3.2 billion to date), the EU and its member states (Team Europe) have committed to share 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to partner countries by the end of 2021. This is complemented by the in-kind support provided through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, and the EUR 100 million support package committed to strengthen vaccine rollout efforts in Africa.
  • Recognizing the key leadership role of the Africa CDC in catalysing and coordinating the comprehensive continental response to the COVID-19, the Team Europe will continue to provide support to the implementation of the Adapted Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19 Pandemic endorsed by the African Ministers of Health on 8 May 2021 as well as the Partnership for African Vaccine Manufacturing launched in April 2021.

Addis Ababa 27 July 2021

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