The Netherlands is making an extra €25 million available for the purchase and distribution of vaccines in poor countries. Development minister Sigrid Kaag made the decision on behalf of the government following an appeal by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The contribution is earmarked for an international initiative to ensure that approximately 1.3 billion doses of safe, effective and affordable vaccines become available in 92 countries that have no or insufficient funds for this themselves. According to WHO, a further 5 billion dollars will be needed to achieve this worldwide. Together with international partners the organisation recently sent out a pressing letter about this funding shortfall.
The government is taking measures to limit the spread of coronavirus in the Netherlands, but also wants to show international solidarity by contributing to fair and affordable access to and distribution of vaccines, diagnostic tests and medicines.
Sigrid Kaag: ‘We are a rich nation and, together with other countries, are shouldering our responsibility by helping people in vulnerable countries. According to WHO, the best way to fight the pandemic is by vaccinating as many people as possible in as many countries as possible. A fair distribution of vaccines worldwide is therefore also in Dutch interests.
The €25 million will be funded from the development cooperation budget and is expected to cover roughly 5 million doses of the vaccine. Last year, the Netherlands already contributed €60 million to the initiative coordinated by WHO. In addition to vaccines, this money was also intended for the development and supply of diagnostic tests in developing countries.