Macron calls on the U.S. and Europe to share vaccine doses, not just money
By Emily Rauhala, Michael Birnbaum and Amanda Coletta
French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday urged the United States and Europe to immediately send 13 million coronavirus vaccine doses to African governments to vaccinate front-line health workers.
The call, made at a virtual meeting of the Munich Security Conference, came after the U.S. and others promised money — but not doses — to help those cut out of the vaccine race.
Macron said Friday that putting money into Covax, a multilateral effort to get vaccines to low- and middle-income countries, will take longer than sharing some of the doses rich countries have snapped up.
“If we announce billions today to give doses in six months or a year, our African friends will buy doses from Chinese, Russians,” he argued. “The power of the West will be a concept but not reality.”
Macron’s remark followed news that the Biden White House will be throwing its weight behind Covax, putting a total of $4 billion into an effort former president Donald Trump spurned.
Not long after, the European Union announced it would double its pledge to the program. Germany and Canada quickly followed suit, bumping up their initial offers.
Health officials say the funding is badly needed but won’t quickly solve the vaccine supply crunch in the short term. Several countries, including Canada, have talked about donating surplus vaccines to Covax, but have declined to lay out actual timelines.
On Friday, for instance, Trudeau declined to directly answer a question about Macron’s earlier call for rich countries to donate 5 percent of the vaccine doses they have already ordered.
“We know there is still much more to do in Canada,” he said. “But absolutely once we’ve vaccinated the most vulnerable, we should also look at the most vulnerable around the world.”