France Protests Against U.S. Getting Sanofi Vaccine First

While France called the situation "unacceptable", world leaders released an open letter calling for a people’s vaccine.
Loukia Papadopoulos

A French government minister said on Thursday that giving the U.S. first access to a Sanofi coronavirus vaccine would be “unacceptable," reported Bloomberg.


Privileged access

“For us, it would be unacceptable that there be privileged access for this or that country on a pretext that would be a financial pretext,” Junior Economy Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher said in an interview Thursday on Sud Radio.

The priority access, however, has not been given without reason. The U.S. is the first country to fund the French company’s research.

Chief Executive Officer Paul Hudson told Bloomberg News this week “that if we’ve helped you manufacture the doses at risk, we expect to get the doses first."

Pannier-Runacher's comments, however, bring to light a problem that nations have been facing with the search for a vaccine. There is the chance that less-developed countries may not have the finances to be first in line for the treatment.

A people's vaccine

In light of this, on Thursday, more than 140 world leaders released an open letter calling for a “people’s vaccine” that would be available to all for free.

“Nobody should be pushed to the back of the vaccine queue because of where they live or what they earn,” said South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Luckily, when it comes to the Sanofi vaccine, the jury is still out on whether the U.S. will indeed have priority.

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Olivier Bogillot, the head of Sanofi France, was asked on BFM Business TV if the U.S. would indeed be first in line for a Sanofi vaccine. He replied: “No, I don’t confirm it. It’s evident that if Sanofi discovers a medicine, a vaccine against COVID-19, and if it’s effective, it will be available to all.”

Pannier-Runacher also revealed that she contacted Sanofi and the firm confirmed that the vaccine would be made available to all countries.

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