On October 20, 2021, around 150,000 Astra Zeneca vaccines were flown in directly from the European producer to Maputo, Mozambique. This donation is part of the commitment agreed between Belgium and its federated states to redistribute at least 4 million vaccines to middle and low-income countries by the end of 2021 via the multilateral distribution mechanism COVAX. A second donation of 207,000 doses should follow soon. These vaccines complement the nearly 1.32 million vaccines already donated through COVAX. Together with the vaccines donated directly from country to country, this adds up to a total of 3.78 million doses, enough to fully vaccinate around 2.2 million Mozambicans.
Flanders contributed both financially - 20% of the vaccine cost is borne by the federated states in the Belgian context - and in facilitating the donation. The latter thanks to years of active presence in the health sector of Mozambique and good contacts with the Ministry of Health. Flanders' direct involvement in this was therefore demonstrated by the presence of the General Representative of Flanders in southern Africa at the formal reception of the vaccines at the airport.
Minister-President of the Government of Flanders, Jan Jambon, summarizes it as follows: “For twenty years now, Flanders has supported Mozambique in broadening access to health services in general and for sexual and reproductive health of all Mozambicans in particular. I am therefore extremely pleased that, as one of the partners within these important vaccine donations, I can now also support our partner country in combating this health crisis in a sustainable way."
As a long-term partner in sustainable and structural health cooperation with Mozambique – 20 years in 2022 – with an average investment rate of 5 million euros per year, this donation is an important and urgent gesture of solidarity in this health crisis. In the future too, Flanders will support Mozambique to increase internal health crisis preparedness. It was agreed with the Mozambican partner government to include this as a transversal point of attention in the new country strategy paper for development cooperation, 2021-25.
In the photo (right to left): General Representative of Flanders in southern Africa, Geraldine Reymenants, and Head of the Diplomatic Office of Belgium in Mozambique, Séverine de Potter de ten Broeck, welcome the first donation of COVID-19 vaccines at Maputo airport .