Angela Merkel 'worried' over lag in talks to secure coronavirus vaccine for poorest nations

Angela Merkel speaks during a press briefing in Berlin after the G-20 summit.
Angela Merkel speaks during a press briefing in Berlin after the G-20 summit.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BERLIN (AFP) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel voiced concern on Sunday (Nov 22) that no major vaccine agreements had been struck yet for poorer nations, as a G-20 summit ended with leaders pledging to ensure a fair distribution of Covid-19 jabs.

"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," Merkel told reporters in Berlin after the virtual G-20 meeting.

She noted that the European Union, the United States and other rich nations already had deals with pharmaceutical companies to secure doses of their potential Covid-19 vaccines.

Leaders at the G20 summit hosted by Saudi Arabia agreed to "spare no effort" to ensure all people worldwide have access to a vaccine that could end the pandemic.

But a global initiative to ensure access to tests, treatments and jabs for all is facing a $4.5 billion (3.8 billion euros) funding gap.

Germany has already committed 500 million euros to the global vaccine effort, known as Covax, which is being co-run by Gavi.

"The most important to me now is that Covax starts negotiations with the manufacturers of potential vaccines using the money it already has," Merkel said.

"It's about doing the right thing."