German parliament approves extra 6.2bn euros to buy vaccines

The German parliament approved an additional 6.2 billion euros (7.5 billion dollars) for vaccine purchases on Wednesday, the coalition parties in parliament announced.

“Procuring vaccines is central to overcoming the crisis,” said Dennis Rohde, responsible for the budget for the Social Democrats (SPD), which govern in coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party, the CSU.

The money would be used to finance purchases already made by the European Union, negotiations with additional vaccine manufacturers and Germany’s own negotiations with individual firms.

The extra funds bring the budget in Germany for buying vaccines to around 8.89 billion euros this year, which is to be used to buy up to 635.1 million vaccine doses.

Germany also wants to support the international vaccine alliance Covax led by the World Health Organization (WHO) with 1.5 billion euros.

Fighting the pandemic would only succeed if people work together, Eckhardt Rehberg of the CDU said.

“That’s why it is decisive that we not only act nationally but cooperate globally,” Rehberg said, stressing the need to help countries with weak health-care systems.

The money would be used to purchase vaccines, protective equipment and testing gear in 92 developing countries, but also go towards research into the virus variants found around the world.

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