Mr Røttingen, the Covax vaccination initiative should ensure that the corona vaccine is distributed fairly around the world.

How did you fail?

Sebastian Balzter

Editor in the economy of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

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We didn't fail.

But so far we haven't achieved the goals we set for ourselves.

By the end of this year, we wanted to have 2 billion people vaccinated in the 92 poorest countries in the world.

So far we have only been able to distribute around 260 million doses of vaccine.

Our new goal is to have 1.4 billion cans by the end of the year.

Why doesn't it work with the initial goal?

Do you lack the money?

There are three other crucial points. Firstly, the Serum Institute of India should be one of our main suppliers. That started out promisingly. It was agreed that half of the production volume would stay in India and the other half would be exported to the other Covax recipient countries. But then India stopped exporting vaccines to immunize the local population. The second reason for the delay is that some of the vaccine candidates we were betting on did not achieve the expected effectiveness against the virus. These include the preparations from Novavax from the United States, Clover from China and Curevac from Germany. Thirdly, we receive deliveries from other vaccine companies, in some cases considerably later than agreed.

We hear from Moderna, Pfizer and BioNTech that their production targets have been exceeded.

The vaccine is piling up in Germany.

Did you bet on the wrong horses?

Both Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna are now also among our suppliers.

Your so-called MRNA vaccines arrive as agreed with us.

But overall we lack transparency about the delivery quantities and production capacities of the various vaccine manufacturers.

Some delays don't seem to be really due to lost production.

Are you saying: The rich states that are publicly behind Covax are buying the vaccine away from the poorer ones?

In any case, the suspicion arises that other customers are simply preferred to us for commercial reasons.

And the manufacturers get involved because they earn more with it?

It seems likely.

The companies have concluded contracts with us that they should adhere to.

They shouldn't care if someone else pays a premium.

Which manufacturers are you talking about?

I don't want to say anything about that.

Which vaccines typically arrive late?

For example, it concerns deliveries from Johnson & Johnson from the United States and orders from the Swedish-British group Astra-Zeneca.

That could be because the Astra Zeneca vaccine is made in India.

I have already taken into account the effect of the Indian export ban.

The company also has factories in a number of other countries.

Delays are also reported to us from there.

Let's summarize: When Covax was launched in the summer of 2020 by the World Health Organization, among others, there was not a single approved vaccine.

The promise was to provide poor and rich countries alike with it when the time comes.

Instead, vaccine nationalism has prevailed - and very few people in Africa have been vaccinated to this day.

It's frustrating.

Have you underestimated the politicians' personal urge for validity and creativity?


I know how political decisions are made.

But our drive must be to get this pandemic under control as soon as possible.

Other political interests should take a back seat.

Otherwise the world economy loses billions of euros every day.

I have the impression that there is still far too little public debate about this.