BERLIN (Reuters) – Companies benefiting from the coronavirus crisis, such as Amazon and drugmakers, should join wealthy nations in helping to fund vaccine access for poor countries, Germany’s international development minister said Tuesday.
A massive research effort has seen several promising vaccines reach approval thresholds in recent weeks. But with rich countries ordering supplies, concerns have grown that poor countries will fall behind.
Gerd Mueller, Germany’s development minister, said it shouldn’t just be richer governments trying to ensure the developing world gets its fair share.
“Private companies that have benefited the most from the coronavirus crisis, such as Amazon or pharmaceutical companies, also have an obligation,” he told Reuters.
On Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was concerned that not enough was being done to ensure adequate supplies of the new vaccine were made available to poorer states, even as European and United States governments cut supplies.
Pharmaceutical companies should offer the World Health Organization’s COVAX initiative – designed to provide supplies to poorer countries – “the best conditions and a good price” for their vaccines, Mueller said.
Reporting by Andreas Rinke, written by Thomas Escritt, editing by Mark Potter