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, and has placed this issue prominently on the agenda of the G7 since taking over its Presidency on 1 January.
More specifically, Germany seeks to focus on strengthening the international health architecture and ensuring sustainable global vaccine equality.
What has happened to date
Germany was one of the founding members of the Country Coordinating Mechanism Access to COVID‑19 Tools Accelerator (ACT‑Accelerator) in April 2020 and remains its second-largest donor, with contributions totalling 2.2 billion euro so far. 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 6 January 2022 just under 960 million vaccine doses in total had already been sent to 144 states and territories via COVAX. Germany is also providing 50 million euro of funding for what is known as the humanitarian buffer, to supply vaccines for people such as refugees who are not covered by national vaccination plans in the countries hosting them.
Germany donated over 100 million vaccine doses in 2021
Since August 2021 the German Government has also been donating vaccines from its own supply agreements which are not needed for its national vaccination campaign. In total it donated around 103 million doses in 2021.
This figure includes around 7.7 million doses donated bilaterally to countries including Egypt, Ghana, Namibia, Thailand, Ukraine and Viet Nam as well as around 95 million doses given to COVAX. By 4 January over 84 million of these doses had been passed on to 30 recipient countries, while around 10 million more are currently being distributed or prepared for dispatch. In total, around 92 million vaccine doses donated by Germany had reached their destinations by early January 2022.
COVAX has so far provided vaccines from German supply agreements to Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Botswana, Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Indonesia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Jamaica, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritania, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Rwanda, Somalia, the Sudan, Tajikistan, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Uzbekistan and Viet Nam. Further substantial deliveries are planned in the coming weeks for countries including Egypt, Indonesia and Viet Nam.
By the end of 2022 Germany aims to provide at least 175 million doses in total to industrialising and developing countries, mostly through COVAX. Germany’s contribution is the second-highest worldwide and will help ensure better access to vaccines.
The EU plans to donate at least 700 million doses, and the US has provided approximately 364 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.
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.
A COVAX Manufacturing Taskforce has also been established in order to increase the production of vaccines. Germany and South Africa are the co‑chairs of the Taskforce.
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. Among other things, almost 2000 ventilators have 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.