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Angela Merkel’s ‘worry’ about global Covid-19 vaccine

Jessica Yun
·3-min read
BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 22: German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks to the media following her participation in a virtual summit of G20 nations during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic on November 22, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. The summit, led this year by Saudi Arabia, had strong emphasis on the global effort against the coronavirus as well policies towards sustainable economies. Notable was the scant participation by U.S. President Donald Trump in the summit. (Photo by Christian Marquardt- Pool/Getty Images)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks to the media following her participation in a virtual summit of G20. (Photo by Christian Marquardt- Pool/Getty Images)

Though the world is on its way to seeing a successful Covid-19 vaccine as early as next year, German High Chancellor Angela Merkel is concerned not everyone will be able to access it.

On Sunday, G20 leaders said they would “spare no effort” to ensure the affordable and equitable access of a Covid-19 for “all people”, promising to support poorer nations in their post-pandemic economic recovery.

Leaders from G20 nations met at a two-day virtual summit over the weekend hosted by Saudi Arabia, with the talks centred on efforts to drive the global economic rebound for 2021.

However, the talks did not come with specific details around how to ensure equitable vaccine access, something that Merkel expressed concern about to reporters in Berlin.

“We will now speak with [global vaccine alliance group] GAVI about when these negotiations will begin, because I am somewhat worried that nothing has been done on that yet,” she said.

Referring to COVAX, the global effort to fast-track the development and access of Covid-19 tests and vaccines co-led by GAVI and WHO, she added: "The most important thing now is that COVAX uses the money it has to negotiate with the manufacturers of potential vaccines.”

She pointed out that while European Union, the United States, and other rich countries – including Australia – had secured major deals to vaccinate their populations, but the same could not be said for developing countries.

“Just having money in the account is not enough. It must also result in something for the developing countries.”

Together, G20 nations represent around 85 per cent of the world’s economic output, as well as three-quarters of international trade.

French President Emannuel Macron also expressed concerns that the coronavirus was further entrenching the wealth divide between the world’s rich and poor.

“We need to avoid at all costs a scenario of a two-speed world where only the richer can protect themselves against the virus and restart normal lives,” Macron told the summit.

Most G20 nations struck a united front on the global Covid-19 vaccine effort, including the European Commission, Russia, and China leaders who all offered to coordinate.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison pushed leaders to contribute more to COVAX and the ACT (Access to COVID-19 Tools) Accelerator, which will distribute vaccines internationally, The Australian reported.

However, outgoing US President Donald Trump reportedly made a brief online appearance at the summit where he boasted he “had done an absolutely incredible job during his term, economically and with the pandemic,” but failed to actually comment on the global situation.

"It's been an honour working with you and I look forward to working with you in the future and for a long time,” he reportedly said, before logging off to go golfing.

But the appearance will likely be his last in his capacity as US President after he lost to Joe Biden in the 2020 US Election.

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