The coronavirus pandemic continues to spread in Europe, and the topic of delayed delivery of Pfizer vaccine in the United States ignited public opinion at a time when large-scale vaccinations were launched in various countries.
On the 15th, Pfizer of the United States and the German biotechnology company issued a joint announcement that the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to EU countries in the next three to four weeks will be affected due to the need to make “production process adjustments” to Pfizer’s production base in Pierce, Belgium.
This unilateral “violation of commitments” has aroused a strong reaction from many European countries.
Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia sent letters to the European Commission requesting the European Commission to pressure Pfizer and Biotech companies to ensure timely, stable and transparent delivery of vaccines.
Under pressure, Pfizer shortened the delay of delivery to one week, and it can return to normal from January 25.
This tension continues to rise, and Italy, Poland and other countries have spoken one after another that if Pfizer fails to fulfill its commitments, it may use it to legal means.
Vaccine factory in a small town in Belgium
Pierce, originally an unknown Belgian town, has become the focus of the media.
One of the only two factories in the world that produce Pfizer vaccine is here, and the other is located in Karamazoo, Michigan, United States.
Theoretically, the vaccines produced by Pierce are mainly supplied to other markets outside the United States.
This time, it also needs to adjust the production process at the cost of affecting delivery.
Pfizer’s reason is to significantly increase delivery in the second quarter and raise the production target for the whole year of 2021 from 1.3 billion doses to 2 billion doses.
Although Pfizer vaccine is not completely out of supply, many EU countries say that they have to adjust their vaccination plans moderately within at least two weeks.
In Belgium, for example, Pfizer’s due delivery this week should be 100,000 doses, but in fact only 83,000 doses.
This has led to the need to reduce or completely interrupt the vaccination of medical staff in parts of Belgium to give priority to the vaccination of high-risk groups in nursing homes.
EU member states also sighed about this sudden situation.
In an interview on the 22nd, Boehner, France’s Secretary of State for EU Affairs, said in an interview that the EU’s vaccination strategy cannot be on just one vaccine
As of January this year, the European Commission has signed six contracts for the purchase of coronavirus vaccines or candidate vaccines, with a total of 2.3 billion doses, but only Pfizer and Modena’s vaccines have been approved for the market.
Judging from the number of vaccines ordered, the U.S. Pfizer vaccine won the first place with 600 million doses, which also makes it difficult for EU countries to get rid of their dependence on this vaccine in the near future.
Italy: We have had enough of Pfizer’s promise.
For Europe, the fight against the pandemic is a race at the same time.
Domenico Alcuri, commissioner of Italy’s COVID-19 Emergency Committee, said that Pfizer unilaterally decided to cut the dose of vaccines delivered to Italy by 29%, and that the dose of vaccines that should have been delivered to Italy next week would be cut by 20%.
Alcuri said he had had enough of Pfizer’s assurance that what Italy needs now is a vaccine.
Affected by Pfizer’s decision, the average daily vaccination number in the country has dropped from 80,000 to 28,000 per day, a decrease of nearly two-thirds, and the dose of vaccine distributed by individual regions is even 60% lower than expected.
Alcuri said that the Italian government and the regions have reached an agreement to assess the possibility of guaranteeing the rights of Italian citizens through legal means, and formal action may be taken in the next few days.
Laza, head of the health department of Italy’s Sicily, also expressed support for the government to take legal action against Pfizer. At the same time, he also appealed to the European Drug Administration and EU institutions to act quickly while ensuring the safety of the vaccine.
He pointed out that what people want to see is the light at the end of the tunnel, not the mirage building.
In addition, the Polish government is also considering following up on the measures that the Italian government may take against Pfizer. Polish government spokesman Mueller said on the 22nd that Poland hopes that Pfizer can finally fulfill its contract. If the company fails to replenish the outstanding vaccine as promised, the decision to take legal proceedings may be issued next month.
Boehner, France’s Secretary of State for EU Affairs, also said that if Pfizer fails to fulfill its promise to return to normal delivery from January 25, France may impose sanctions on Pfizer and German biotechnology companies.
Meanwhile, the European Drug Administration is expected to “greenlight” the coronavirus vaccine produced by Oxford University and AstraZeneca in the United Kingdom on January 29, but AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals warned that the number of vaccines delivered to the European Union would be expected to be “less than originally expected”.
The unified goal set by the European Commission on the 19th requires that member states should vaccinate 70% of the adult population by this summer.
Nowadays, the delivery of the novel coronavirus vaccine has been repeatedly postponed, which will pose a huge challenge to achieving this goal.
China’s vaccine injects confidence into the global fight against the pandemic
At a time when many countries in Europe and the United States are “difficult to find” a dose of COVID-19 vaccine, China is fulfilling its commitment to use the vaccine as a global public good with practical actions, injecting confidence into many countries around the world in fighting the pandemic.
In the middle of this month, the first batch of coronavirus vaccines produced by China National Pharmaceutical Group arrived in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia.
Serbian President Vučić personally went to the airport to welcome the vaccine. On January 19, Serbian Health Minister Lonchar, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense also became the first Chinese vaccine vaccinated in the country.
Hungary will continue negotiations with China and Russia over the purchase of additional vaccines, the minister of Hungary’s prime minister Guyáš Gelgay, also said that due to the slow supply of vaccines allocated by the European Union to Hungary.
The access of vaccines to the EU market requires the permission of the European Drug Administration, but in special circumstances, EU member states can issue their own licenses for use within their own countries.
With COVID-19 infections and deaths increasing, time is life.
Vaccines are an important means to defeat the pandemic, and vaccination as soon as possible is an urgent need of many countries.
The COVID-19 pandemic is still raging around the world, and the more infectious and deadly mutant strains make the prevention and control of the pandemic more important.
The dispute between Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine and many European countries due to the delay in delivery not only exposes the shortcomings and shortcomings of the production capacity of some vaccine companies, but also highlights the importance of keeping promises.
The strong grass is known in the strong wind, and the pandemic is responsible.
Only by working together and taking responsible practical actions can the international community help defeat the pandemic at an early date.