Macron urges US, EU to share vaccine doses
French President Emmanuel Macron pressed the U.S. and European Union to allocate some coronavirus vaccine doses to be shared with developing countries that have been slower in getting their COVID-19 outbreaks under control.
Macron said in an interview with the Financial Times that the U.S. and E.U. should set aside between 3 percent and 5 percent of their doses. The French president said the distribution would be crucial in fighting the coronavirus while also closing an opening for Russia and China to promote their own vaccines, which come at lower costs than those from western nations.
“We are allowing the idea to take hold that hundreds of millions of vaccines are being given in rich countries and that we are not starting in poor countries,” Macron said prior to a meeting of the Group of Seven (G-7) industrialized nations.
“It’s an unprecedented acceleration of global inequality and it’s politically unsustainable too because it’s paving the way for a war of influence over vaccines,” he warned.
Macron’s remarks come after the White House said it would not donate vaccines to developing countries until most Americans are inoculated. However, President Biden did announce Friday that the United States is sending $4 billion to Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, to support Covax, the global initiative to develop and distribute coronavirus vaccines to lower income countries. Of that money, $2 billion is being sent out immediately.
Public health experts have said that poor recoveries in developing nations will hamper global efforts to beat back the coronavirus given how easy it is to transmit the illness.
The French president maintained that allocating small slivers of vaccine doses won’t impact vaccine rollouts at home, which have been criticized for being too slow — particularly in the E.U.
“It won’t change our vaccination campaigns, but each country should set aside a small number of the doses,” he said.
“It’s not about vaccine diplomacy, it’s not a power game — it’s a matter of public health,” he added.