BioNTech lashes out at EU for not ordering enough COVID-19 vaccine

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Jan 02, 2021, 10:19 AM(IST)

Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The company is now racing with its partner firm, Pfizer, to increase the production and deliver vaccine doses to the Eu to avoid the gap

A few weeks after the European Union approved the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine for emergency use in the union, the German pharmaceutical company BioNtech has lashed out at the EU for not approving enough doses.

The EU is now fearing a 'gap' in the vaccination drive, which BioNtech says has been caused as the EU did not approve and order enough doses. The vaccine was approved by the EU after the UK, Canada and the US started their vaccination drive from the same company. The German company claims other countries have been able to manage the mass vaccine drive in a better way than the EU.

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Uğur Şahin, Founder and the head of the German biotech firm, claims the vaccination programme in the EU "certainly did not go as fast and smooth as it did with other countries". 

He also explained that the gap has been caused as the EU wrongfully assumed that several Other vaccines would be ready for approval by this time. "The assumption was that many other companies would come up with their vaccines," he said. "It would seem that the impression was: ‘We’ll get enough, it won’t be so bad, and we have this under control.’ It surprised me."

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His wife and company's Chief Medical Officer said while she understands the logic behind EU's initial assumption, the union should have realised with time that the other companies will be unable to deliver in the set timeframe. "Such an approach makes sense. But then at some point it became clear that many would be unable to deliver so quickly," she said. "By that time it was too late to make up for under-ordering."

The company is now racing with its partner firm, Pfizer, to increase the production and deliver vaccine doses to the Eu to avoid the impending gap. However, the company has also added that they cannot produce flat-out to meet the widening gap. Hopefully, they will be able to set up a new manufacturing plant in Germany by the end of February. "By the end of January we should have clarity on how much more we can produce," Şahin said.

Explaining the gap, the company reported that while the US ordered 600 million doses of the vaccine in July, the Eu waited until November to order half as many as the US, leading to a situation of chaos, especially with the identification of the new variants of the novel coronavirus.

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