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COVID-19: Malteser International calls for equitable access to vaccines

The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic – unemployment and rising food prices – have caused starvation for millions of people. Photo: Nyokabi Kahura/Malteser International.

While vaccination against COVID-19 is already underway in Germany, the United States of America (US) and the United Kingdom (UK), more than half of people in the Global South stand little chance of getting vaccinated against the novel coronavirus. With the COVID-19 pandemic pushing millions to the brink of starvation, Malteser International has called for governments and institutions to ensure vulnerable people in the Global South have swift and equitable access to safe COVID-19 vaccines.

In collaboration with international aid organizations, governments and pharmaceutical companies, the World Health Organization (WHO) has established the COVAX Facility, a global initiative seeking to ensure that low- and middle-income countries get adequate vaccine provision.

“COVAX is a welcome initiative. However, it remains underfunded,” said Annette Wächter-Schneider, Malteser International’s Program Director and Deputy Secretary General. “The German government and the European Union have made financial contributions, but that is nowhere near enough to ensure people in countries such as South Sudan and the DR Congo receive their share of the vaccines.”

Last month, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) warned that a record 235 million people will need humanitarian and food assistance in 2021, an almost 40 per cent increase on 2020.

“This extreme increase in hunger is almost entirely due to COVID-19,” said Wächter-Schneider. “It is therefore important that the global community ramps up humanitarian efforts and ensures that vaccines reach those in greatest need.”

“We can only beat this pandemic through an approach of global solidarity,” continued Wächter-Schneider. “Anything short of that will lead to the worsening of an already bad situation. This should be clear to all governments deciding how much financial support they will provide for global access to vaccines.”

Note to editors:
Annette Wächter-Schneider, Program Director and Deputy Secretary General of Malteser International, is available for interviews.

Contact information:
Katharina Kiecol
+49 (0) 221 9822-7181

Malteser International is scaling up response to the coronavirus pandemic by strengthening healthcare, spreading information on proper hygiene, and providing lifesaving assistance for vulnerable communities. Visit our COVID-19 page for more information.

We are urgently calling for donations to support our response.


Katharina Kiecol
Email: katharina.kiecol(at)malteser-international.org

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