Sanofi Backtracks on Vow to Give U.S. First Access to COVID-19 Vaccine

May 15, 2020

Sanofi has quickly withdrawn a pledge by its CEO Paul Hudson that the U.S. would be the first to receive its potential COVID-19 vaccine.

Hudson had told reporters at a briefing that the U.S. would be the first country allowed to preorder the vaccine because it was the first to invest in the company’s research.

But intense blowback from the French government led the Paris-based company to walk back the CEO’s comments a day later, saying that it would make sure there is global access to the vaccine.

“We have always been committed in these unprecedented circumstances to make our vaccine accessible to everyone,” the company said in a statement.

Senior officials in the French government had balked at Hudson’s initial pledge, arguing that the vaccine needs to be evenly distributed.

“Equal access for all to the vaccine is not negotiable,” said French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Twitter. “A vaccine against COVID-19 should be a global public good.” — James Miessler