2.2 billion euro for vaccines, diagnostic tools and medicines
The pandemic can only be overcome if it is brought under control all over the world. Germany thus opted early on to focus on finding joint responses in a spirit of solidarity to the pandemic that continues to rage worldwide. In April 2020, Germany helped found the coordination mechanism Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-Accelerator). With contributions totalling 2.2 billion euro to date, Germany is currently the mechanism’s second-largest donor. Most of this support is going to the international vaccine platform COVAX, while some is being used for diagnostic tools and medication to treat COVID-19. By mid December, a total of almost 897 million doses of the AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and BioNTech vaccines and others had already been sent to 144 states and territories. Fifty million euro of the German funding is earmarked for what is known as the humanitarian buffer, to supply vaccines for people such as refugees who are not covered by national vaccination plans.
Germany donates over 100 million vaccine doses in 2021
Since the end of August, the German Government has also been donating doses from its own stocks that are not needed for its national vaccination campaign, including booster shots. Germany will provide at least 175 million doses in total to newly industrialised and developing countries, with most of these vaccines being made available through COVAX. The German contribution is the second-highest worldwide and will help ensure better access to vaccines.
About 95 million doses have now been donated or guaranteed to COVAX and these are gradually being distributed. By December more than 72 million of these doses had been passed on to 28 recipient countries, while around 23 million more are currently being distributed or prepared for dispatch.
COVAX has so far provided vaccines from German supply agreements to Mauritania, Ethiopia, Malawi, Togo, Tajikistan, the Sudan, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, Botswana, Egypt, Iran, Jamaica, Nigeria, the Philippines, Kenya, Bangladesh, Côte d’Ivoire, Somalia, Pakistan, Guinea, Rwanda, Uganda, Angola, Benin, Nepal, Ghana, Tunesia and Algeria. More substantial deliveries are to follow to Indonesia and the Philippines coming days and weeks.
The German Government has also donated around 7.7 million doses via bilateral channels to countries including Namibia, Egypt, Ukraine, Vietnam, Ghana and Thailand. In total, some 80 million vaccine doses donated by Germany had reached their destinations by the end of December 2021.
The EU plans to donate at least 500 million doses, and the US has provided approximately 331 million doses so far. The G7 intends to supply a total of at least 870 million doses by the end of 2022. The majority of these donations are to be given to COVAX, which knows conditions in the recipient countries best and can therefore distribute the vaccines fairly around the world. COVAX is currently supplying the AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna , BioNTech and other vaccines.
Multilateral solutions instead of vaccine nationalism
Germany and the EU are committed to finding a multilateral response to the pandemic and to ensuring fair, transparent and affordable access to COVID-19 vaccines, medicines and diagnostics around the globe. Ensuring that this access is not tied to political conditions is a joint approach in a spirit of solidarity which stands in contrast to the bilateral pledges and vaccine nationalism of some states. However, donations and financial support alone are not enough. Germany and the EU are therefore actively working to promote the production of vaccines in Africa in particular. Germany wants to secure regional healthcare in the long term and will provide funding to help set up vaccine production in countries including South Africa and Senegal.
The COVAX Manufacturing Task Force was established in order to increase the supply and production of vaccines. The aim is specifically to raise the number of doses which can be produced at short notice and to prioritise these doses for COVAX. The Focus in on the 92 poorest countries in particular. In addition, vaccine production in the global South is to be expanded. Germany and South Africa are the co-chairs of the Taskforce and have submitted a report on this issue to the G20.
It will also remain a priority to distribute not only vaccines but medicines and testing materials. Healthcare systems weakened by COVID-19 must be strengthened for the future. The ACT-Accelerator is playing a valuable part in these efforts, too.
Germany is engaged – worldwide
Germany is helping with more than just vaccines. It also receives requests for ventilators, masks and medical equipment from all over the world. Germany has provided support to around 100 countries and has launched three major relief packages. Almost 2000 ventilators have for example been donated. Furthermore, Germany has made available 450 million euro for humanitarian assistance in the context of COVID-19 in order to help people in humanitarian emergencies.
With a view to learning from the pandemic and boosting global pandemic resilience in the future, Germany is also calling for the global health architecture with the WHO at its heart to be strengthened. At a Special Session of the WHO in late November, an agreement was reached to establish an intergovernmental negotiating body that will draw up a new agreement on the handling of pandemics. The International Health Regulations (IHR) are also set to be reformed.