Von der Leyen: EU has proved it is possible to vaccinate, allow exports

Strasbourg, France, Jun 9 (EFE).- The European Union has proved it is possible to vaccinate its population and make Covid-19 vaccines produced in the bloc available for exports, the European Commission president said on Wednesday.

Ursula von der Leyen’s remarks came during a plenary session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

“Out of 600 million doses produced in Europe, until now around about 300 million have been exported to over 90 countries,” said von der Leyen.

“If all the other vaccine producers had followed our example, the world today would be a different place,” she added.

Although she did not mention any countries, von der Leyen was referring to nations such as the United States and the United Kingdom, which have both strictly limited vaccine exports to other countries.

Those countries have vaccinated their residents in the first half of the year at a faster rate than the EU.

To boost vaccine access in low- and middle-income countries, von der Leyen said it was important to engage with the private sector and support the COVAX vaccine distribution mechanism.

Several developing countries have lobbied the World Trade Organization to back a suspension of intellectual property rights on vaccines to tackle jab shortages around the globe.

In response, the European Commission chief said: “intellectual property has to be protected.”

“Voluntary licenses are the most effective way to facilitate expanding production,” von der Leyen continued.

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