Covid is a killer! When the pandemic started nobody would have imagined that by now close to 4 million people worldwide would have succumbed to the virus. In my country Germany more than 91.000 have died so far. Young and old, healthy and sick, rich and poor – absolutely nobody is safe.
When your life is in danger basic survival instinct lets you look for ways to protect yourself. This first impulse is quite normal. But once you have a plan and fear is no longer dominating your thinking you have to realize that you need to look beyond your community and your country – both as a responsible member of the global community and also in order to stay safe. In this globalized world nobody is safe until everybody is safe!
This is why the COVAX Facility has been created. It is a global risk-sharing mechanism for pooled procurement and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. COVAX has so far shipped over 95 million COVID-19 vaccines to 134 participants. The G7 have announced that by the end of the year, more than two billion vaccine doses will be ready, primarily through Covax . Poorer countries are to receive 1.3 billion of these vaccine doses free of charge.
The European Union announced that it would increase its support for the COVAX Facility to 1 billion euros. Many EU Member States have made considerable contributions to COVAX. Up until now Germany has contributed 2.2 bn EUR. By end of this year Germany will also have shared at least 30 Mio doses with developing countries.
Africa has so far received more than 25 mio vaccine doses for 45 countries including vaccines from BioNTech/ Pfizer and AstraZeneca produced in Europe. By the end of the year the EU will have donated more than 100 mio vaccine doses.
Almost all the vaccines Uganda has received so far came through the COVAX facility and there is more to come. This month an additional 285.600 doses are expected to arrive, and in August another 688.800 doses.
These figures and the support the EU and its Member States have been giving Uganda for decades in many other fields clearly demonstrate the close ties and the strong friendship that has developed between Europa and Uganda.
The question has been asked if foreign support for African countries should not have been stronger and quicker. I think, it certainly should have! Maybe it was a bit like in an airplane when the cabin pressure drops: First you put on your own oxygen mask, then you attend to your neighbor. And that’s what we are doing now. We are working to improve supply chains, reduce trade barriers and increase vaccine production worldwide, also in Africa.
German Ambassador, Matthias Schauer