BERLIN, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Germany will contribute an additional 1.5 billion euros to support global COVID-19 vaccination efforts and other programmes to fight the pandemic, increasing its overall pledge to 2.1 billion euros, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said on Friday.
"We can only get out of the pandemic with vaccinations. We need to make progress on this, at home and abroad," Scholz said, adding that the additional money was meant to support the COVAX program, the Word Health Organisation (WHO) and other international efforts.
"With today's announcement we make clear: We're standing side-by-side with the poorest countries," Scholz said. The German contribution would increase international funds for vaccines, drugs and tests by over 30 percent, he added.
"We'll only be safe if there is immunisation through vaccination all over the world," Scholz said.
U.S. President Joe Biden was expected to use his first meeting with leaders of Group of Seven advanced economies on Friday to announce an immediate $2 billion donation to the COVAX program co-led by the WHO. COVAX aims to ensure a fair supply of coronavirus vaccines around the world.
The United States will provide an additional $2 billion over the next two years as other nations fulfill and make their own pledges, U.S. officials said.
(Reporting by Michael Nienaber, editing by Thomas Escritt)
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