Germany could miss COVID-19 vaccine donation target, manufacturers accuses By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Booths at a vaccination center, temporarily set up in the Erika-Hess ice rink to fight the coronavirus disease pandemic (COVID-19) are seen in Berlin, Germany on January 14, 2021. Kay Nietfeld / Pool via REUTERS

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany could miss its target of donating 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine this year due to conditions imposed by manufacturers and insufficient deliveries, a health ministry official said in a letter to Brussels seen by Reuters.

The 100 million doses are half of the total promised by European Union member states to the poorest countries this year, according to the European Commission.

Germany’s Foreign Ministry said on October 19 that Germany had given just over 17% of that amount.

In a letter to the European Commission’s Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) on Monday, Minister of Health Secretary of State Thomas Steffen said there were “bureaucratic issues. , logistics and legal proceedings ”imposed by vaccine manufacturers on EU countries wishing to donate surplus vaccines.

Steffen said these factors made “a swift response to international requests for assistance almost impossible.”

The letter is the strongest sign to date of tensions between governments and drugmakers over donations.

The EU and rich countries, many of whose most vulnerable citizens have been vaccinated, are under pressure from the World Health Organization to deliver more doses to the poorest countries, many of whom have not. vaccinated only a fraction of their population.

“With the current increase in vaccine surpluses in many Member States, we will soon be faced with a global allocation emergency,” Steffen wrote. “Some countries may be forced to waste large quantities of precious vaccines that are urgently needed in other parts of the world.”

He said the obstacles included minimum selling prices, onerous compensation payments demanded from recipient countries and restrictions on distribution to international organizations.

Changes in expected delivery volumes and vaccine dose expiration dates have also made planning more difficult, he added.

Steffen said AstraZeneca (NASDAQ 🙂 and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE 🙂 together could only deliver up to 50 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccines this year, which means Germany is also expected to donate. by Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna (NASDAQ 🙂 shots that are the mainstays of its vaccination campaign.

In response, Johnson & Johnson said it would help countries with excess doses donate them to other countries, especially using the international COVAX facility, as long as countries meet safety, legal, regulatory and logistics.

AstraZeneca said it supports donations in addition to regular supply agreements with individual countries and COVAX, and said it has helped with around 85% of all donations in Germany so far.

“Vaccine donation is a complex administrative process with long delays beyond the control of vaccine manufacturers,” he added.

The other manufacturers could not be reached immediately for comment.

Most EU countries have pledged to donate AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Many have restricted the use of these vaccines due to very rare cases of blood clotting.

Any shortfall in donations is likely to exacerbate criticism from richer countries, which are deploying boosters and inoculating adolescents considered to be at low risk of COVID-19, as the pandemic rages elsewhere.

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