Sanofi walks back after saying US would get vaccine first

FILE - In this Feb. 7, 2019 the logo of French drug maker Sanofi is pictured at the company's headquarters, in Paris. French pharmaceutical group Sanofi ensured that it will make its COVID-19 vaccine, when ready, available in all countries, hours after the company's CEO said the United States will get first access. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 7, 2019 the logo of French drug maker Sanofi is pictured at the company's headquarters, in Paris. French pharmaceutical group Sanofi ensured that it will make its COVID-19 vaccine, when ready, available in all countries, hours after the company's CEO said the United States will get first access. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

PARIS – French pharmaceutical group Sanofi promised Thursday that it would make its COVID-19 vaccine, when ready, available in all countries, hours after the company's CEO said the United States will get first access.

Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson's comments that a vaccine would go first to the U.S. prompted an angry reaction from the French government.

“Equal access for all to the vaccine is not negotiable,” French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said in a tweet.

French President Emmanuel Macron was described by his office as also being “upset” by Hudson’s comments.

Macron is pushing for vaccines to be considered a “common good” for humanity that must not be subject to market pressures.

Philippe said he spoke to Serge Weinberg, chairman of the Sanofi board, about the vaccine and received “all the necessary assurances” that it would be distributed in France.

There will be a follow-up meeting with Sanofi officials at Macron's office next week.

Hudson told the Bloomberg news agency that the U.S. government has the right to the largest pre-order of an eventual COVID-19 vaccine “because it’s invested in taking the risk.”