French President Emmanuel Macron has called on the US to drop its restrictions on the export of Covid-19 vaccines and ingredients.
His words came as a divide emerged between parts of Europe and the US over how best to increase global vaccine production.
Currently, around 1.25bn doses have been administered around the world.
However, less than 1% have been given to the world’s 29 poorest countries, according to news agency AFP.
Rich countries, by contrast, are speeding up their vaccination campaigns. In the UK , 67% of the population has received a first dose and in the US 56% of those eligible have had one jab.
On Friday, the EU agreed to purchase 900 million more doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, with the option for 900 million more
Patent waiver versus export bans
South Africa and India argue that surrendering patents would mean the secret vaccine recipes would be released and other countries could start producing the life-saving jabs, potentially lowering the cost. India is currently in the grip of a devastating second wave, which yesterday alone left more than 4,000 people dead.
This week the US backed the proposed waiver.
The plan also has the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Pope Francis, who said on Saturday the world was infected with the “virus of individualism”, with “the laws of… intellectual property” put “over the laws of love and the health of humanity”.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had hoped to get the European Union’s support, speaking to leaders who had gathered together on Saturday via video call.
However, he failed to secure the backing he sought, with EU leaders remaining sceptical. Mr Macron argued increasing exports and production was the best way to solve the crisis.
“The key to produce vaccines more rapidly for all poor countries or intermediate countries is to produce more,” Mr Macron said.