Funding vaccinations. Fighting the virus
The newest CEB member state, Andorra, is using funds from a CEB loan to help finance its purchase of COVID-19 vaccines.
In September 2020 the CEB approved a public sector financing facility (PFF) of €12 million to Andorra which aimed to support the state’s fight against COVID-19. The loan has helped to fund the purchase of tests and medical and pharmaceutical equipment, the hiring of additional medical and support staff, and the increase of intensive care beds in a state that has just one public hospital.
In January 2021 Andorra announced that part of the loan would also be used to help fund the country's COVID-19 vaccination programme.
Sourcing vaccinesAs well as accessing vaccines through the World Health Organisation’s COVAX project, which promotes equitable global access to vaccines, Andorra has been able to spearhead its COVID-19 vaccination programme via bilateral agreements with neighbouring EU states.
Earlier this month (January 2021) it was announced that a supply of 30,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine would be sent to Andorra from Spain, while supplies of the Moderna vaccine are also coming from France. As part of EU purchase agreements, both countries receive more doses of the different vaccines than are required to immunise their populations, so they redistribute the excess wherever needed.
Spanish authorities have sold the vaccines to Andorra at the same price as they paid for them. Commenting on the sale, Salvador Illa, the former Spanish Minister of Health, called it, "An exercise of responsibility and solidarity required by the impossibility of small countries to sign contracts with pharmaceutical companies."
Andorra’s COVID-19 vaccination programme started in January, with a first phase aimed at protecting care home residents, health professionals and frontline workers.Maria Siguenza, Country Manager for Andorra, commented on the country’s use of CEB funds for its vaccination programme, “We are pleased to see how the CEB funds support the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines for the Andorran population. These vaccines will protect lives and support the economic recovery of the country.”
“International cooperation and multilateral financing cooperation, as the one provided by the CEB, are crucial to fight against the current health crisis,” said Marc Ballestà Alias, State Secretary for International Financial Matters.
“The access to the CEB financing, to cover a part of the Covid-19 health expenses, including the vaccination programme, has been very important for the Government of Andorra and it will ensure the provision of all the needed health resources by our citizens”.
At a glance
- Andorra has 77,000 inhabitants
- It is the sixth smallest nation in Europe
- In May 2020 90.8% of the population was twice tested for COVID-19 antibodies
- 8.87% of the population had antibodies and some 78 asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 were detected and required to self-isolate.