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Minister Müller welcomes start of vaccination campaigns in 18 developing countries through COVAX immunisation alliance


Vaccination of young children at the Kibati Goma health centre in the Democratic Republic of Congo (image from 2018)

04.02.2021 |

BERLIN – The global vaccine platform COVAX announced that the first COVID-19 immunisation efforts are starting in 18 developing countries and emerging economies. The first vaccines will be distributed in the coming weeks. Further countries will follow immediately. COVAX will be distributing nearly 340 million doses to poor countries.

German Development Minister Gerd Müller stated: "COVID-19 is a global health crisis and vaccines are a global good which needs to be available to developing countries, too. However, the richest 14 per cent of the world's population have so far secured more than half of all vaccine doses. But we have to have immunisation in developing countries, too. Otherwise, the virus will come back to us on the next plane. We will either beat the pandemic worldwide or not at all.

"So it is important that vaccination campaigns are starting in the first 18 developing countries now. This includes Tunisia, Mali, Rwanda, Bolivia and the Philippines, but also Ukraine and Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, this year it will only be possible to immunise a maximum of 20 per cent of the people of 92 developing countries and emerging economies, and even the funding for that has not yet been secured. There is still a funding gap of 25 billion dollars. This means that the international community, the EU and private donors have to increase their financial contributions to COVAX. The EU should now provide four billion euros – this is the amount that the U.S. has announced under its new President Joe Biden."

Background

COVAX is led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the CEPI research alliance (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations). COVAX seeks to make vaccines accessible for all countries worldwide. In the first round, Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines will be distributed to 18 developing countries and emerging economies, and AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccines will be distributed to further countries.

In the first half of the year, doses will be distributed to all other countries that have joined the platform. It is expected that these 92 countries will receive vaccines to immunise one-fifth of their populations by the end of this year, especially high-risk groups such as health workers.

In 2020, Germany provided some 600 million euros for research, immunisation, testing and treatment in developing countries. It will expand this support in 2021.

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