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Von der Leyen told the Strasbourg assembly the donation is “an investment in solidarity, and it is an investment also in global health”.

She recognised the disparity that has emerged between economically advanced countries such as the United States and those in Europe, which have pushed ahead in vaccinating the majority of their populations against the coronavirus, and poorer nations that are struggling to get hold of supplies.

“With less than one per cent of global doses administered in low income countries, the scale of injustice and the level of urgency is obvious,” she said.

Von der Leyen hailed the Europe Union’s vaccination roll-out, which has seen more than 70 per cent of its adult population fully inoculated.

She said Europe had done more than any other region to get vaccine doses to other countries, noting that half of the 1.4 billion vaccines produced on its territory had been exported abroad.

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