Germany is donating an additional 1.5 billion euros ($1.8 billion) to boost the rollout of vaccines in the world’s poorest countries, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said Friday, increasing an earlier contribution of 600 million euros.
“Today we want to make clear: we stand with the poorest countries. Germany is providing a further 1.5 billion euros for Covax, WHO, and others,” Scholz said in a statement.
“Vaccines are the only way out of the pandemic.”
The move was announced following a virtual G7 meeting at which leaders pledged to move as one in ensuring coronavirus vaccines reach everyone in the world.
Rich countries have come under fire in recent months for hoarding Covid-19 jabs at the expense of poorer countries, despite warnings from health experts that vaccines can only end the pandemic if they are shared out across the globe.
European Union chief Ursula von der Leyen announced earlier on Friday that the bloc was doubling its contribution to the Covax global Covid-19 vaccination programme to one billion euros.
US President Joe Biden was expected to pledge $4 billion in aid to Covax during the virtual meeting with other leaders from the Group of Seven major industrial nations.
Covax is a global project to procure and distribute coronavirus vaccines for at least the most vulnerable 20 percent in every country, allowing poorer states to catch up with the vaccination rush by dozens of wealthy countries.
German Development Minister Gerd Mueller said just 0.5 percent of Covid-19 vaccinations had taken place in the world’s poorest countries.
“Only a global vaccination campaign can lead the way out of the pandemic. It must not fail because of financing,” he said.