To date, Austria has donated 9.2 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to third countries, five million of them last year alone. Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) has since called on the EU to renegotiate the contracts.
Since the start of corona vaccination in Austria, donating vaccines to third countries has been a goal of the Ministry of Health. By 2021, approximately 4.2 million doses of vector vaccines could be passed directly to other states. A third was supplied to Iran, among others, another third to Ukraine and Bosnia-Herzegovina. About a third also went to Burkina Faso, the Philippines and Afghanistan in 2021 through the Covax initiative.
In 2022, the number of donated vaccine doses was increased again to about five million. The largest shipments of about a million cans each went to Tanzania, Sudan and Brazil. They consisted largely of BioNTech/Pfizer mRNA vaccines. Most donations were made through Covax.
In addition to vaccine donations, which are carried out in close cooperation between the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior, Austria supports the implementation of vaccinations and vaccination education on the ground, as well as local health projects in third countries. The federal government made a total of five million euros available for this in 2021 and 2022.
“The ability to pass vaccines on to poorer countries was an important motive in ordering the vaccines. This is a sign of international solidarity, but also in Austria’s own interest: Corona will only be under control in the long term if we bring vaccination coverage to a reasonable level internationally,” Rauch said, adding: “Many manufacturers have made billions in profit with the corona vaccines. We need more flexibility in vaccine delivery and sharing.”
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