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EU leaders call on Washington to lift vaccine export bans

EU leaders call on Washington to lift vaccine export bans

Posted May. 10, 2021 07:21,   

Updated May. 10, 2021 07:21


EU member states put a greater emphasis on Washington's lessening of COVID-19 vaccine export limits rather than on the suspension of intellectual property rights to COVID-19 vaccines. They imply that U.S. President Joe Biden's support of the waiver in question does not provide any immediate solution to the ongoing shortages of vaccines across the globe.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday (local time) in a press conference regarding the EU summit talk held in Porto, Portugal, that waiving intellectual property rights to vaccines does not help produce any single dose of COVID-19 vaccine within the mid- and long-term period. She called on all nations across the world to promise to export vaccines in large quantities just as the European Union does.  

French and Italian leaders agreed on the European Commission president's argument although they endorsed President Biden's waiver. French President Emmanuel Macron maintained that it is more urgent to distribute vaccines evenly across the globe rather than suspending intellectual property rights, calling on the United States to stop banning the export of vaccines and their raw materials. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi also said that the lessening of patent-related regulation does not automatically translate into increases in vaccine production. As of now, the United States puts priority on supplying itself with COVID-19 vaccines, raw materials and manufacturing equipment based on the Defense Production Act.

There is general consensus that it takes a great deal of precise processing and know-how to produce generics even if the World Trade Organization reaches agreement on the suspension of intellectual property rights to COVID-19 jabs. U.S. vaccine maker Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel told Reuters in February that not any pharmaceutical firm is capable of producing enough vaccine generics, which require a high level of complicatedness, overnight to meet global demands.

Jong-Yeob JO jjj@donga.com