The European Union is pledging to donate 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to low-income countries by mid-2022.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen made the pledge Wednesday in Strasbourg, France during her annual State of the European Union speech before the European Parliament. Von der Leyen said the 200 million doses the EU plans to contribute is in addition to an earlier promise of 250 million doses, which she described as “an investment in solidarity, and it is an investment in global health.”
Von der Leyen said “the scale of injustice and the level of urgency is obvious” with less than 1% of all global doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered in low- and middle-income countries.
“Let’s do everything possible so that it does not turn into a pandemic of the non-vaccinated,” she told the EU lawmakers.
US Army requirement
Meanwhile, U.S. Army officials issued a mandatory vaccination order for all uniformed personnel. Officials said Tuesday that the Army expects all active-duty soldiers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by December 15, while imposing a deadline of June 30, 2022 for all Reserve and National Guard soldiers.
The statement said soldiers who refuses the vaccine will “be first counseled by their chain of command and medical providers,” but warns that if they continue to refuse and have not been exempted from the vaccine, they will be suspended from their duties or even dismissed from the service.
In the United States, the largest hospital in the remote northwest state of Alaska announced Tuesday that it has begun rationing care due to a raging outbreak of new COVID-19 infections. Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, the state’s largest city, said Tuesday it is now operating under a policy of “crisis standard of care,” meaning the hospital is unable to provide an equal quality of medical care to all patients.
The hospital said in a statement that an overflow of COVID-19 patients in its emergency room has left other patients waiting in their cars for hours before they are seen by a doctor for urgent care.
Providence Alaska Medical Center joins a growing number of hospitals across the U.S. who have been forced to ration or even deny medical care to their communities as COVID-19 patients fill their halls beyond capacity.