Macron says EU and Africa seek vaccine deal at February summit – POLITICO

The EU is working with African countries towards an agreement to improve access to coronavirus vaccines, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday.

In a letter to the European Parliament, Macron said that the leaders aimed to present an agreement on EU-African Union summit next month. He said he hoped EU leaders would agree to a global license for coronavirus vaccines that removes barriers to gaining the capacity, intellectual property and technology that Africa needs to make its own vaccines.

The EU is working with African countries to create a number of vaccine production sites on the continent. Yet the bloc has so far pushed back on calls from developing countries to relinquish intellectual property rights to coronavirus vaccines owned by leading drug manufacturers. Germany’s BioNTech developed one of the world’s leading coronavirus vaccines.

Vaccine access campaigns argue that IP rights are an obstacle to broader vaccination in developing countries. With 10 pct of Africa’s population is fully vaccinated against 70% in the EU.

Macron said the global licensing proposal under discussion is in line with requests from the leaders of both the World Trade Organization and the World Health Organization, the Geneva-based multilateral groups, where the debate on IP exemptions has dragged out much of the pandemic.

Macron also defended the EU’s results on vaccine exports, saying the bloc had sent half of all the 2.5 billion doses produced within it abroad. The French president said that unlike the United States, the EU had not imposed an export ban on vaccine ingredients or doses.

In fact, the Commission introduced a mechanism that would allow the export of doses to be blocked and used it on a single shipment of 250,000 Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine doses originally destined for Australia. At the time, third-country officials also claimed that the Commission was informally pressuring vaccine manufacturers not to export doses without having to officially activate the mechanism.

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