The US has so far gobbled up nearly all of the doses produced on its soil. It has sent 4.2-million AstraZeneca shots — which aren’t authorised for use in the US — to Mexico and Canada, and says it plans to ship 60-million more of those doses by the end of June. The doses are undergoing a safety review.
Pfizer has also begun filling non-US orders from its US production, but hasn’t said how many doses it has shipped or which countries have received them.
“The EU is the only continental, democratic region of this world that is exporting on a large scale,” Von der Leyen said.
Growing European opposition to the US stance is putting Biden on the spot while also stirring debate in Europe about the wisdom of seeking to waive IP rights for vaccines, which would require a lengthy process at the World Trade Organisation.
It’s also exposing long-simmering tensions over US “vaccine nationalism”, which has left the EU and others to carry the weight of meeting global demand.
French President Emmanuel Macron criticised the US and the UK for blocking vaccine exports. “The Anglo-Saxons are blocking many of these ingredients and these vaccines,” he said.