The Spanish government on Thursday said a US proposal to waive patents on coronavirus vaccines signals the “way forward” but will not be enough to guarantee supplies to developing countries.

Approving such a suspension of intellectual property rights would take time and, in the meantime, pharmaceutical companies should be flexible in granting voluntary licences, it said in a working paper entitled Vaccines for All.

The paper, which Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is due to present on Friday at a European Union summit in Porto, calls for the removal of trade barriers and logistical hurdles to reduce a global shortfall in vaccine production.

“Unequal access to vaccines between developed and developing countries is not only at the core of a feeling of injustice, but also poses a health risk for the world,” the paper read.

Spain also proposed a platform to monitor global vaccine manufacturing sites and match idle production capacity with demand.

Taking advantage of a slowdown in global air transport, the paper suggests airlines should work with international organisations to play a greater role in vaccine distribution.