WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the press conference with Dr Gerd Müller, Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Germany – 29 March 2021

From World Health Organization, Avenue Appia 20, 1202 Geneva 27, Switzerland

Media www.rajawalisiber.com  – Vielen Dank, Bundesminister Dr Müller, for today’s very important meeting, very productive meeting on all the areas that we have discussed: equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines around the world, and also the response to Ebola, and Germany’s commitment to strengthening multilateralism for global health.

Germany has provided extraordinary leadership and significant financial support and  invaluable other support for the COVID-19 response, in particular through its support of the Access for COVID-19 Tools Accelerator as well as for WHO.

We are very grateful for the renewed political commitment to the ACT Accelerator and its financing.

Vaccine equity is the fastest way to end the pandemic globally. And I quote what you said, Minister, earlier today. You said that a global crisis needs a global answer. I fully agree. And that’s why we also say that to vaccinate is one of the global solutions and that will speed up the ending of the pandemic globally. And you stressed strongly that global solutions start from solidarity.

And Germany has set an example in advocating for other countries and partners — including G20 and international financial institutions — to step up their support and increase developing countries’ access to WHO-approved vaccines through the COVAX facility — including through dose-sharing.

Thank you so much, Minister.

While COVID-19 vaccines are now rolling out around the world and 177 countries have started vaccination, distribution is still highly unequal, as the Minister said. And too many health workers and priority groups are still waiting to be vaccinated in too many places.

As we speak, six countries want to start but do not have access to vaccines, yet.

As the Minister said, of the 576 million vaccine doses administered so far, 76% have gone to only 10 countries, most of them high income countries.

Continued vaccine inequity is self-defeating, as it could see variants of concern gain the upper hand and slow the global economic recovery.

I’d also like to thank Germany for its work through the BMZ of the global Emergency COVID-19 Support Programme, which is focusing on critical priorities including health and pandemic control, food security, and displaced populations in fragile settings.

The support to SPRP from Germany actually covers 26 percent of the funding that we already had and that’s very generous, thank you so much.

Finally, I would like to commend Germany for robustly supporting response and preparedness for health emergencies and health system strengthening, including with Ebola outbreaks and One Health programmes on the human, animal, environmental interface.

WHO looks forward to continuing to work closely with Germany as we respond to the pandemic and work together for a healthier, safer and fairer world.

Vielen dank, Thank you so much again.

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