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BRUSSELS, Jan 19- The European Union wants to establish a mechanism to share surplus COVID-19 vaccines with poorer neighboring states and Africa, the EU’s health chief said on Tuesday, in a move that could undermine a global scheme led by WHO.
The EU, with a population of 450 million, has already secured almost 2.3 billion COVID-19 vaccines and candidates from six companies, although most of them still need regulatory approval.
“We are working with member states to propose a European mechanism to share vaccines beyond our borders,” EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides told EU lawmakers on Tuesday, confirming a Reuters report from December.
He stressed that the mechanism would bring vaccines to the poorest countries “before COVAX is fully operational,” referring to the global scheme co-led by the World Health Organization established last summer to ensure a fair distribution of COVID injections. -19 worldwide. (Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Edited in Spanish by Gabriela Donoso).
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