Tuesday, January 12, 2021
Berlin ordered its own batch
EU: No vaccination priority for Germans
In December, the federal government reported that it had secured an extra batch of vaccine in addition to the EU quota. That causes outrage in Europe. A follow-up is now coming from the EU Commission.
According to the EU Commission, Germany has no priority when it comes to delivering the corona vaccine from the Mainz-based company Biontech and its US partner Pfizer. She knows nothing of national agreements with vaccine manufacturers, said the director general of the Commission’s health department, Sandra Gallina, in a hearing in the EU Parliament in Brussels. “And in any case it is clear that deliveries to Europe have priority.”
In June, the 27 EU countries asked the Commission to pre-order vaccines for them. This should prevent a race between the EU governments for the preparations and also secure more favorable purchasing conditions. The Federal Ministry of Health announced in December that, in addition to orders via the EU, Berlin had ordered another 30 million doses from Biontech and its US partner Pfizer. This caused outrage in Brussels and in other Member States. Many felt reminded of Germany going it alone at the beginning of the corona pandemic, when Berlin prohibited the export of protective equipment to EU partners.
No knowledge of bilateral agreements
“Parallel agreements are not possible”, underlined the negotiator Gallina, who is responsible for vaccine orders, referring to the criticism of the German government’s actions already expressed by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. “And I have to say, I haven’t seen a (national agreement with vaccine manufacturers) either.” The Commission was not informed of bilateral agreements between Berlin and Biontech. In any event, the manufacturers committed themselves to deliveries to all Member States in proportion to the number of inhabitants. “And even if some Member States do not want their total amount, the remaining vaccine doses will be divided equally among the other Member States,” said Gallina.
The department head rejected the accusation that the commission had not ordered enough vaccine. “We bought everything we could buy.” The price of the individual vaccines, the willingness of manufacturers to accept liability and their production and delivery capacities also played a role. “If I buy more but it doesn’t get delivered, what’s the point?”
The MEPs in the Environment Committee called for more transparency. The EU Commission had not made public contract details such as the prices of the individual vaccines and questions of liability for side effects with reference to confidentiality clauses. On Tuesday, the Tübingen-based pharmaceutical company Curevac, with which the Commission has also concluded a supply contract for its previously unapproved vaccine, was the first manufacturer to grant access to the contract documents. However, under strict conditions: Few MPs can view edited versions of the contracts for a short time and only after signing a confidentiality agreement.