Vaccines remain the central element in combating COVID-19. Since the start of the pandemic, the Federal Government has been pursuing a multilateral approach in the global fight against this disease and, with 2.2 billion euro, is the second largest donor to the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), to which the global vaccine platform COVAX belongs.
At the G20 summit in Rome at the end of October, Germany once again stressed the importance of fair distribution and announced its intention to donate at least 175 million vaccine doses to other countries, 100 million of these by the end of 2021. To date, the EU has exported more than 900 million vaccine doses all over the world. That is more than the EU has so far distributed to the member states for Europe’s own use.
Nonetheless, vaccine exports and donations cannot in the long term be the only way to fight future pandemics. The production of a wide range of vaccines must be expanded at global level and become more regionally diversified. For example, at the moment only one percent of total vaccine production takes place on the African continent.
Supporting production development
Within the context of ACT-A, Germany is working with other countries to accelerate the production and supply of vaccines. To this end, the COVAX Manufacturing Task Force was established in March 2021. It presented an initial report at the G20 summit in Rome, in which it appeals to the G20 to rapidly eliminate trade restrictions and accelerate vaccine delivery via COVAX. Furthermore, existing vaccine manufacturing capacities should be increased and vaccines be distributed more fairly around the world, as well as restrictions placed on the stockpiling of vaccines. Low and middle income countries should receive support to establish their own vaccine production facilities. Flexible cooperation models with the countries concerned and with business are a key tool in this area, for example in the form of fill and finish (filling and packaging vaccine vials in the countries themselves) and investment and cooperation with local enterprises (joint ventures).
German engagement in the field of vaccine production
The Federal Government has already made available around 500 million euro to establish vaccine production on the African continent. Specific projects are planned with South Africa, Senegal, Ghana and Rwanda. For example, the Institut Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal, is to receive support to the tune of more than 20 million euro in start-up funding in order to set up filling and production facilities for COVID-19 vaccines there.
In addition, the European Union has earmarked one billion euro to develop production capacities in Africa. Germany is also contributing to this amount.