France to double Covid vaccine doses for poorer countries

Sunday September 26 2021
Covid pic

A nurse prepares to administer Covid-19 vaccine. PHOTO | COURTESY

By AFP

France will double the number of vaccine doses it will send to poorer countries to 120 million, President Emmanuel Macron pledged on Saturday, in a video broadcast during the Global Citizen concert in Paris.

"The injustice is that in other continents, obviously, vaccination is very late," he said. "We have to go faster, stronger.

"France pledges to double the number of doses it is giving," he added. "We will pass from 60 million to 120 million doses offered."

That amounted to more than the doses so far administered in France, he said.

On Wednesday, the United States announced that it would be doubling its donation of vaccine doses, bringing its total contribution to 1.1 billion.

President Joe Biden described the pandemic as an "all-hands-on-deck crisis," adding "we need other high-income countries to deliver on their own ambitions".

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The European Union has committed to distributing 500 million doses.

And China's President Xi Jinping, in a video message broadcast to the UN on Tuesday, pledged a total of two billion doses by the end of the year, repeating a figure already given by the Chinese authorities.

It was not made clear how many of those would be sold and how many donated.

In his statement, Macron also said that France would work with the UN's children's organisation UNICEF in their efforts to help African countries organise their vaccination roll-out.

France would also redirect 20 percent of the special funding it received from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) towards projects designed to restart the economies of African countries, said Macron.

"If all the major powers do the same as France, we will reach 100 billion dollars for Africa," he added.

Finally, Macron pledged that France would spend 330 million euros to promote education in France.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization, has repeatedly denounced the injustice of the massive imbalance in the distribution of vaccine doses in rich and poor countries.

"I will not stay silent when the companies and countries that control the global supply of vaccines think the world's poor should be satisfied with leftovers," he said earlier this month.

African leaders pleaded for the chance to buy vaccine doses for their people during a meeting of the African Union earlier this month.

According to an AFP tally drawn from official sources, Africa's 53 countries, with a population of more than 1.3 billion people, has had a total of 10 vaccine doses per 100 people.

In contrast, the United States and Canada, with a population of just over 368 million people, has had 120 doses per hundred people