The controversy between the EU and Great Britain was ignited over the weekend: in an open letter, Council President Charles Michael wrote about the British “export ban” on vaccines. The British government immediately denied that there was such a ban. Prime Minister Boris Johnson resented the indictment again during question time in public on Wednesday. The already poisoned mood was further irritated by the problems of the Northern Ireland protocol of the Brexit agreement.
London holds the vaccine for itself
London is proud to say that 23 million Britons have now been vaccinated against cowpea, the highest rate anywhere else in Europe. However, there seems to be no shortage of vaccines on the island – and the EU has also contributed to this: Britain has now announced that despite the shortage in its own member countries, it has provided nine million dollars from European production to the Great Company.
Meanwhile, pharmaceutical company AstroGeneca has announced that it will be able to fulfill only 40 percent of its contract delivery obligations to the EU. The AstraZeneca vaccine is also manufactured in the UK, although the EU does not believe it was exported from there. The group prioritized deliveries under its British treaty. This is how the word “export ban” came to be.
Since January, both sides have been arguing over these distributions, with the EU insisting that contracts with the pharmaceutical company, contrary to British representation, should have equal value obligations and be concluded at the same time. So is there a special agreement between the UK majority pharmaceutical company and the UK government?
The European Union exports the vaccine worldwide
AstraZeneca has refused to supply the UK-made vaccine to the continent, says MEP Peter Lees. “If Europe supplies the world when everyone is thinking only of themselves, things will not work out.” The European Commission in Brussels has announced that 34 million doses of the vaccine, produced in Europe, have been distributed to 31 countries since January.
Meanwhile, vaccination campaigns in many EU countries have been slow, and there have been complaints about shortages of supplies. Pharmacist Lease now supports the possibility of a total EU embargo, which is possible under the rules of the World Trade Organization: “Bioentech / Pfizer, whose vaccine is exported in large quantities, fulfills its distribution obligations to the EU, but the option must be taken seriously.” The most important and reasonable criticism is that the export control mechanism was implemented too late. “
Johnson & Johnson approved
On Thursday afternoon, the European Pharmaceuticals Association (EMA) approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is now the fourth product on the market. “This is another important step in ensuring that all citizens have access to safe and effective vaccines as soon as possible,” said Health Commissioner Stella Kriakits.
The EU Commission has ordered 200 million doses for the new vaccine, with an additional 200 million preferred. The company says the first batch will deliver 55 million cans by the end of June. It is easy to prepare and should only be vaccinated once.
However, it is already doubtful whether the company will now fulfill its distribution obligations. This vaccine is made exclusively in the United States, where there is actually an export ban. So Johnson & Johnson should initially serve the US market and only release excess cans for export.
Side effects of Astrogenogen?
Denmark, Norway and Iceland have discontinued vaccinations with AstraZeneca product. Danish doctors have reported frequent thrombosis after such vaccinations. The Health Commission warned that it was not clear whether there was a link between the blood clot and the vaccine.
The application is therefore suspended for two weeks only. The EMA in Amsterdam is investigating a death from Denmark. “Various documents show that the vaccine is safe and effective,” explains Soren Prostrom, head of the Danish office. However, supervisory authorities should investigate all signs of serious side effects in Denmark as in other European countries.
Two similar side effects have been reported from Austria, where a woman died of persistent thrombosis and another patient was hospitalized with pulmonary embolism. The EMA investigated these incidents and said they were not caused by the vaccine. However, they would like to re-examine the volume in question. In principle, the vaccine production process is constantly monitored and quality controls are carried out. Nevertheless, a product error cannot be ruled out. The Baltic states and Luxembourg have also stopped using the vaccine.
EU export control extended
The EU Commission has now announced that the control mechanism for the export of the Covit-19 vaccine will be extended until the end of June. It was introduced in late January when the controversy with Great Britain over AstraZeneca’s contract performance began. This regulation will only serve to ensure that the EU has an overview of how much vaccine is being distributed from its territory to other parts of the world. The Commission assured them at the time that they did not want to block exports.
However, last week Italy abruptly applied the rule and banned the export of 250,000 doses of the estrogen vaccine to Australia. Prime Minister Mario Draghi justified this with the country’s worsening epidemic situation and slower distributions by pharmaceutical companies.
Author: Barbara Wessel