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PORTO, Portugal – French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday again urged richer nations to share COVID-19 vaccine doses with poorer nations, criticizing the US and UK for “blocking” such transfers.
France was the first to join the group of seven rich nations known as the G7 donating cans, but Macron recently came under pressure for not clearly supporting a proposal to revoke intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines, one Idea on which the US relied Wednesday.
Macron answered a question from reporters when he arrived at the EU Social Summit in Porto and defended his position.
“What’s the problem at the moment? It’s not really about intellectual property; You can give it to a lab that doesn’t know how to make it – the first problem is the administration of doses, ”Macron said. “The second pillar that vaccines are circulated on is not to block ingredients and vaccines. Today the Anglo-Saxons block many ingredients and vaccines.”
Last year, Macron urged vaccines to be considered a global public good, stating that wealthier countries should help poor countries buy, obtain and produce cans.
“I’m open to this issue, as I said, we’ve been fighting for a year to make the vaccine a global public good. I’m glad we’re being persecuted,” Macron said.
The French president has repeatedly stated that wealthier countries that are hoarding excess doses should donate what they don’t need, given vaccine production bottlenecks. They should also help pharmaceutical companies transfer their know-how in order to set up more production facilities around the world capable of producing technologically complex vaccines such as mRNA-based ones.
In April, France gave Mauritania 100,000 doses as part of the international vaccine initiative COVAX.
France didn’t start making vaccines until March after benefiting from a technology transfer to make mRNA vaccines. So far, no French pharmaceutical company or laboratory has succeeded in developing its own COVID-19 vaccine.
Separately, Macron joined the Prime Ministers of Belgium, Sweden, Denmark and Spain to demand the urgent approval of a European vaccine sharing mechanism, “coupled with an obligation to share doses”. In a May 6 letter to the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, received by POLITICO, leaders say the bloc needs to start vaccine donation even as they try to speed up domestic vaccination campaigns Otherwise, “others will fill the vacuum and use vaccines as.” a geopolitical tool. “(The letter was first noted by journalist Jorge Valero.)
Jillian Deutsch contributed to the reporting.
This article is part of POLITICOPremium Policy Service: Pro Health Care. Our specialist journalists keep you up to date on drug prices, EMA, vaccines, pharmaceuticals and more, and keep you updated on the issues that are driving the health policy agenda. E-mail [email protected] for a free trial.