Austria's Chancellor accuses EU of having 'secret contracts' with vaccine companies

WION Web Team
Vienna, AustriaUpdated: Mar 12, 2021, 07:46 PM IST

EU approves additional doses of Pfizer vaccine Photograph:(WION Web Team)

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Kurz has alleged that some hints have pointed out that 'deliveries do not follow the per capita quota system'

In a shocking claim, Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has suggested that some European countries have signed "secret contracts" with several coronavirus vaccine companies.

Kurz has claimed several of the European Union (EU) countries have developed secret contacts with vaccine companies through which they are receiving more doses of the coronavirus vaccines than they are entitled to receive, on the basis of the EU rules.

"There are clues that point to so-called bazaars where additional agreements between member states and pharmaceutical companies were made," Kurz said. 

Previously, all EU members had agreed that the number of doses of coronavirus vaccines should be distributed among the European countries on the basis of the population. 

However, Kurz has alleged that some hints have pointed out that "deliveries do not follow the per capita quota system". He has managed to reach this conclusion after comparing the total procurement between member states.

"Malta will receive three times as many doses per capita as Bulgaria until the end of July," he justified his allegation with examples. "The Netherlands would not only receive more doses of vaccine per capita until the end of June than Germany, but almost twice as many as Croatia," he added.

Calling out the discrimination and the me-first attitude, he said, "This is in clear contradiction to the political goals of the EU".

However, the EU has denied these allegations and has dismissed the existence of any back-door agreements. 

"Member states may decide to ask less or more of a given vaccine, and this is discussed between the member states," said EU spokesperson, Stefan de Keersmaecker. "It's possible in this context, following the outcome of the discussions between the member states, that a new distribution key is agreed upon with the company."

While Kurz has made the allegation, he has defended the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine amid the concerning reports of severe side-effects of the vaccine, leading to a temporary suspension in a few EU countries. 

"I informed myself and after seeing so many people in Austria being worried about the vaccine, I'm willing to get the Astra Zeneca vaccine. I want to show that I have trust in this vaccine. Experts here have a clear opinion and this vaccine is being used in many countries around the world, and it is already being used by tens of millions," he said.