Germany bought an additional 30 million doses of BioNTech vaccine. And the European plan?

Germany bought an additional 30 million doses of BioNTech vaccine. And the European plan?

Thanks to an agreement with the German company, the Berlin government will obtain 30 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine more than the 55.8 million already foreseen by the EU Commission: the agreements in Brussels were not an impediment

(photo: Ipa) Thanks to a bilateral agreement with the German company BioNTech, Germany has obtained the supply of another 30 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech anti Covid-19 vaccine in addition to those provided for by the European vaccination plan: this was confirmed by a spokeswoman for the German health ministry during a press conference in Berlin. The new additional doses will be added to the 55.8 million already foreseen for Germany by the preliminary agreements signed by the European Commission with the pharmaceutical company, out of the total of the 300 million units to be distributed among the 27 EU member states. br>
The Federal Republic of Germany had been at the forefront in recent weeks to persuade the European Medicines Agency to bring the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to be approved before Christmas. Through initiatives such as the V-Day of December 27, the day the coordinated vaccination campaign in the EU began, the objective of Brussels has always been to ensure the supply of doses to all 27 countries "at the same time and to the same conditions " . The president of the EU Commission herself Ursula von der Leyen had praised V-Day as a "moment of touching unity".

The #EUVaccinationDays are a touching moment of unity.

The first vaccine was made available to all EU countries:

✔️at the same time

✔️under the same conditions

Together, we will overcome this pandemic. #StrongerTogether

- European Commission 🇪🇺 (@EU_Commission) December 27, 2020

However, Germany now appears to be willing to act alone, given the heavy second wave of coronavirus infections that recently hit it, prompting it to re-enter a strict lockdown regime from December 16 to January 1 . Together with the additional doses of the vaccine, the German government has announced the imminent opening of "other production facilities in Germany" of the Pfizer-BioNTech drug.

During an interview with broadcaster Zdf, the Minister of Health German Jens Spahn stated that the goal is to install "by February or March another production plant in Marburg, in the central land of Hesse" (the company BioNTech is, in fact, German and is based in Mainz, Germany West).

How does the European vaccination plan work?

Last June, the European Commission presented its strategy to implement the anti-Covid-19 vaccination plan within the EU , putting € 2.7 billion on the table to accelerate the development and availability of vaccines within the next 12-18 months.

To this end, "the Commission will conclude agreements with individual vaccine manufacturers on behalf of member states . In exchange for the right to purchase a certain number of vaccine doses in a given period, the Commission will finance part of the initial costs incurred by the vaccine manufacturers. All will take the form of preliminary purchase agreements. The funds disbursed will be considered a down payment on vaccines that will actually be purchased by member states ", explained the EU Commission.

As stated on the website of the European institution," joint action at EU level it is the safest, fastest and most efficient way "to achieve vaccination coverage, since" no member state alone has the capacity to guarantee investment in the development and production of a sufficient number of vaccines ".

Indeed, "a common strategy allows for better betting coverage, risk sharing and investment sharing to achieve economies of scale, scope and speed". Therefore, during the summer, the Commission signed contracts to allow the purchase of a vaccine, once proven safe and efficient, with the companies AstraZeneca, Sanofi-Gsk, Johnson & Johnson, CureVac, Moderna and BioNTech. The details of these contracts have not been made public, for market reasons.

However, the fact that the Commission has been given this delegation by the 27 EU countries to centralize the supply of vaccines does not mean that individual member states are expressly prohibited from entering into agreements with pharmaceutical companies. As Germany has just done, also in the wake of accusations that have rained on the Commission of having contributed to delaying the start of vaccinations in Europe (on the subject we report a report by the German weekly Der Spiegel) while the United States and the United Kingdom had already started the respective vaccination campaigns.

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