19 June 2021,   04:03
Speed production of vaccines or COVID won’t go until 2024 - French minister

The COVID-19 pandemic will haunt the world until 2024 unless the G7 focuses on increasing vaccine production, in part by facilitating it in Africa, the French foreign minister has said, writes The Guardian.

Jean-Yves Le Drian added there was a debate to be had about loosening restrictions on pharmaceutical companies’ patents – a measure supported by the Biden administration on Wednesday - but the number one priority was increasing production.

Le Drian was speaking to the Guardian as he attended the meeting of G7 foreign ministers in London, an event he described as marking the comeback of the US and the reignition of multilateralism after years in abeyance because of Donald Trump.

“If we continue at this pace … then there will not be global immunity until 2024. Are we going to wait until 2024 keeping on with our masks, our tests, our constraints and our fears? I do not think that is a solution for us or the world.

There will be no immunity against COVID-19 unless it is global immunity. We can rejoice about the pace of vaccination in each of our countries and it’s all very well that the UK can rejoice about it, but it is only a step to global immunity and the virus will still be there with its variants so long as we do not reach global immunity”, - said the Minister.

He admitted the UN’s Covax scheme, in which wealthier countries were funding the production and distribution of vaccines to the world’s poorest, needed more momentum. Covax is a huge initiative to create 2bn doses, including 1.3bn to be used this year