France will double its contribution in sharing COVID-19 vaccines with developing countries to 60 million doses, President Emmanuel Macron announced Sunday at the conclusion of the G7 summit in the UK.
“The G7 is committed to sharing one billion doses of vaccines by the end of the year. France is doubling its commitments, which represents 60 million doses. Solidarity together,” Macron said in a tweet.
On the last day of the summit, the leaders of the world’s richest countries agreed to pledge a billion doses through the World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVAX vaccine program and achieve herd immunity by vaccinating at least 60% of the world's population by next year.
Macron, who in a virtual summit in February had called on G7 leaders to share vaccines to inoculate frontline health workers in Africa, said Sunday that the African Union will receive 5 million doses by the end of the summer.
“Our method of getting out of the pandemic is clear: share our doses of vaccines, but also open access to production on all continents,” he said.
He added that the G7 had collectively called upon the private pharmaceutical sector to aid in the model to ensure transparency in the prices of the vaccines which the recipient countries could also use in the buy-back and increase the production capacities in all low- and middle-income countries to build self-reliance.
“Africa represents 20% of the need for vaccination in the world but has only 1% of the production capacity, and therefore, we must help each continent to raise its capacity,” Macron said, adding that in the short term, the G7 leaders also agreed to make structural changes through the lifting of all restrictions on exports. This he said will unleash big changes, especially for India’s largest vaccine producer, the Serum Institute, whose production was blocked due to export restrictions on certain raw materials which came from some G-7 economies.
The French president had backed India’s demand for the lifting of restrictions on raw material at the G7 and given the example of the Serum Institute, which is at the center of a global shortage of COVID-19 vaccines.
“In no case will intellectual property block the transfer of technology that allows production in all regions of the globe,” he added.
By Shweta Desai