1.5 billion euro for vaccines, diagnostics and medication
The pandemic can only be overcome if it is brought under control all over the world. Nobody is safe until everybody is safe. Germany thus chose early on to focus on finding joint responses to the pandemic in a spirit of solidarity. The key is to ensure affordable global access to tools for detecting infections, medication for treating the disease, and above all vaccines for preventing it. The Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-Accelerator) was set up to this end last year, and Germany has already contributed 600 million euro to the scheme.
The country is now providing another 1.5 billion euro for the ACT-Accelerator. Most of this sum will go to the vaccine platform COVAX, while some will be used for diagnostic tools and medication to treat COVID-19. The funding will enable COVAX to procure more vaccines, distribute the doses and support progress in vaccine research looking at virus mutations.
The ACT-Accelerator has already coordinated the procurement of two billion doses as well as liability and approval issues for 190 countries, halved the cost of rapid tests for developing countries and procured 2.9 million doses of the drug dexamethasone for treating COVID-19 patients in developing countries.
To curb the spread of COVID-19, vaccines are key
In the fight against COVID-19, vaccine provision is key. The COVAX platform led by the GAVI Alliance, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the research alliance CEPI is responsible for procuring and equitably distributing vaccines. Countries around the world are using the platform to jointly purchase two billion doses of vaccine and distribute them fairly so that, in a first step, 20 percent of the global population (health workers and high-risk groups) can be vaccinated. The aim is to prioritise the vaccination of nurses and doctors in Africa, for example, and not only the entire populations of industrialised nations.
Ninety-seven industrialised and emerging economies, including Germany, have joined COVAX to date. The platform is also enabling 92 developing countries to obtain access to vaccines.
Pooling demand worldwide and meeting it multilaterally – distributing the first vaccines from the end of February
GAVI published an initial distribution plan in February. Up to 337 million vaccine doses are to be distributed to 145 countries between the end of the month and mid-2021. COVAX has concluded procurement contracts with vaccine producers AstraZeneca, BioNTech and Serum Institute of India. It will begin distributing the AstraZeneca and BioNTech vaccines at the end of February. Negotiations are ongoing with other manufacturers and COVAX is continuing to secure shares of promising new vaccine candidates. This makes it possible to develop production capacities for worldwide supply even before new vaccines are licensed.
Germany is committed – to promoting multilateral solutions, not vaccine nationalism
Germany joined COVAX via the EU and was already the third-largest donor to the ACT-Accelerator, with an initial contribution of 600 million euro.
The EU itself is providing 500 million euro in start-up funding for COVAX and is sharing its technical expertise. Germany will also provide a substantial contribution to support developing countries. In addition to this and other support, Germany has made available 450 million euro for humanitarian assistance in the context of COVID-19 and is working in all international bodies to promote fair, transparent and affordable access to COVID-19 vaccines, medicines and diagnostics around the globe.