At a virtual G7 meeting, hosted by the UK Presidency to discuss the global COVID-19 response, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has pledged €1.5 billion (US$1.8 billion) in additional funding to the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), the global alliance to accelerate the development and production of, as well as promote fair access to, COVID-19 tests, therapies, and immunization.
With this newly announced contribution, Germany is the largest donor to ACT-A. In her speech, Merkel emphasized the importance of international cooperation to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, which can only succeed if everyone everywhere is vaccinated. However, according to her, the provision of funding will only be one part of the equation—tackling the pandemic also requires the timely delivery of vaccines. Therefore, it is pivotal for the COVAX vaccine distribution initiative to conclude contracts with manufacturers to distribute vaccines quickly to its partner countries, she said.
In addition to providing financial support, Germany is currently exploring the possibility to pass on some of the vaccines it has ordered for Germany to “poorer countries”, Merkel stated. However, the timeline and scale for potential dose-sharing are not clear yet. This would not put vaccine appointments at risk in Germany, she assured.
In addition to Germany, the US, the European Commission, Japan, and Canada announced new pledges for ACT-A or its COVAX pillar at the virtual G7 leaders' meeting and at the Munich Security Conference later in the day. In total, the G7 leaders contributed over US$4.3 billion in additional funding to ACT-A that day. With the new contributions made, ACT-A is left with a funding gap of US$22.9 billion to fully fund its work in 2021.