German Chancellor Merkel Urged to Stop Blocking Global COVID Vaccines

For Immediate Release: July 13, 2021

Contact: Arthur Stamoulis, (202) 494-8826 or

German Chancellor Merkel Urged to Stop Blocking Global COVID Vaccines
Nationwide Protests During Merkel’s Visit to the United States Urge Germany to Support the TRIPS Waiver to Help End the Pandemic

Washington, DC — Protesters hoisted a giant 20-foot by 10-foot banner on helium balloons outside the White House today, calling on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to stop blocking an emergency waiver of World Trade Organization (WTO) rules needed to increase global production of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments that would help save millions of lives.  The action is one of more than a dozen protests and public events in the U.S. capitol and at German consulates across the nation timed before and during Merkel’s visit to the United States this Thursday.

The banner, which included an enormous image of Merkel’s face, read “GERMANY: STOP BLOCKING GLOBAL COVID VACCINES” and “#TRIPSWaiver Now!”  Supported by the United States and the vast majority of other nations around the globe, the TRIPS waiver would temporarily suspend the WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) when it comes to COVID vaccines, diagnostics and treatments so that those life-saving medical items can be produced in as many places as possible as quickly as possible.

“While Americans and Western Europeans increasingly have widespread access to COVID vaccination, huge numbers of people around the world aren’t expected to have access to a vaccine for years unless global production is dramatically increased,” said Arthur Stamoulis, Executive Director of Citizens Trade Campaign. “Every day Chancellor Merkel delays global action on COVID vaccines costs thousands of lives and increases the chances of a viral mutation that can evade current vaccines and start the pandemic all over for everyone. The Merkel-Biden summit will not be a success unless Germany agrees to support the TRIPS waiver and help end the pandemic.”

On Wednesday morning, leaders of public health and other civil society organizations will hold an online press conference calling on Chancellor Merkel to end her waiver block  and calling on President Joe Biden to show continued leadership on the issue by persuading her to do so.  At the same moment, a mass protest will be held at the German Permanent Mission to the UN in New York City.

Throughout the week, protesters will also gather outside a dozen separate German Consular offices in California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Utah, Virginia and Washington states to remember loved ones lost to COVID-19 and further call on Germany to support the TRIPS waiver.

Protesters will also stage a “die-in” outside the White House during Merkel’s visit on Thursday, with a giant Merkel puppet lurking over dozens of body bags representing the millions of lives on the line.

“Last month, over 130 civil society organizations called on President Biden to persuade the European Union to stop its obstruction of a fast and effective TRIPS waiver for COVID vaccines and treatments.  Chancellor Merkel’s visit is his opportunity to do just that,” said Stamoulis.  “With thousands of people continuing to die of COVID every day for lack of vaccines and treatments, the idea that Germany would continue to prioritize pharmaceutical profits over saving as many lives as possible and ending this pandemic is an outrage.  Now is the time for real leadership.”