France to Donate 100,000 Vaccine Doses to Covax Program

France will give 100,000 vaccine doses to poorer countries in April via a multilateral program called Covax.

The first deliveries to African countries via the World Health Organization-backed program will be AstraZeneca Ltd vaccines, filled and finished in Italy, an official in President Emmanuel Macron’s office said.

Other European-approved vaccines could be added to the portfolio as France commits to deliver 500,000 doses to Covax by mid-June, the official said, declining to be identified in line with government rules.

France will be the first country to give vaccine doses to Covax, according to the Elysee official.

Macron has been calling on richer countries to donate 5% of their secured Covid-19 vaccine supplies to poorer countries through Covax, which many developing nations are relying on for inoculations. The commitment announced on Thursday falls short of that target, though.

While the vaccination campaign is picking up in France, it got off to a rocky start. The government has been criticized for being ill-prepared, and the European Union’s purchasing process for the vaccines slammed for being slow.

France has received close to 20 million vaccine doses and injected more than 17 million people with at least one jab. The government is struggling to convince the French to get Astra shots, which is now being administered only to people over the age of 55 due to risks of blood clots.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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