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Health EU increases pressure on vaccine producers

18:30  24 january  2021
18:30  24 january  2021 Source:   dw.com

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Objectives of the EU Vaccine Strategy. Vaccination preparedness in EU countries. This approach will decrease risks for companies while speeding up and increasing manufacturing. Under its vaccines strategy, the Commission has forged agreements with individual vaccine producers on

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After the announcement of delays in corona vaccine deliveries, the EU wants to get the manufacturers going. The federal government is preparing for possible attacks on vaccination centers.

Provided by Deutsche Welle © European Union / Xinhua / picture alliance Provided by Deutsche Welle

"We want to ensure that the pharmaceutical companies adhere to the contracts they have signed," said EU Council President Charles Michel (article picture). In order to guarantee this, the European Union could also use "legal means".

Most recently, bottlenecks at vaccine manufacturers Pfizer and AstraZeneca caused anger in Europe. The British-Swedish company AstraZeneca announced on Friday that it could initially supply the EU with fewer corona vaccine doses than planned. The reason is problems in "a plant in our European supply chain". A week earlier, the American group Pfizer had informed about delays in delivery of the BioNTech vaccine developed in Germany due to renovation work in a plant in Belgium.

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Impfstoff von BioNTech/Pfizer: weltweit begehrt © Christof STACHE / AFP Vaccine from BioNTech / Pfizer: coveted worldwide

You understand that "obstacles" arise when building production capacities and supply chains, said Michel. But the EU must "roll up its sleeves and fight for it" to find out the exact reasons and to contain them. Pfizer initially announced delivery delays of several weeks. After the EU "hit the table", it was only about a week.

AstraZeneca's vaccine is not yet approved in the EU. On January 29th, however, the EMA could give the green light.

The EU Commission actually assumed that the member states would be able to vaccinate at least 70 percent of the adult population with the doses it bought by the end of the summer. Michel now admitted that this goal would be difficult to achieve.

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The EU 's first vaccinations against COVID-19 could take place in the first quarter of 2021, according to a European health chief. Andrea Ammon, director of the European Center for Disease Control (ECDC), said such a possibility was an "optimistic" scenario.

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"Abstract threat"

The federal government fears massive attempts to disrupt the corona vaccination campaign. Because of the "large media presence as well as the high dynamic and emotionality" of the topic there is an "abstract risk" for the headquarters of pharmaceutical companies, vaccination centers, vaccine transports and storage facilities, according to a written response from the Federal Ministry of the Interior to a request from the Greens.

So "vaccination opponents, corona skeptics and conspiracy theorists" could try to penetrate the facilities in order to emphasize their protest. "This could be accompanied by escalating damage to property in the buildings. In individual cases, encounters with the employed staff or the vaccine recipients could also lead to criminally relevant physical assaults," according to the Interior Ministry. However, there are no concrete indications of attacks.

Impfzentrum in Berlin: in Gefahr? © Kay Nietfeld / AFP / Getty Images vaccination center in Berlin: in danger?

The ministry sees a further danger in specific espionage attempts by foreign secret services. "Several alleged research attempts with regard to German vaccine manufacturers have already become known". The risk of cyber attacks must be "classified as high".

wa / nob (afp, dpa, rtr)

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