German Media Slams EU Vaccine Failures

The mood began to turn on the German government last week, as soaring cases coupled with the lack of vaccine rollout, disappointed. Best selling newspaper Bild pointed out that the first German had been vaccinated… in the UK. Now Der Spiegel has produced a scathing analysis of the centralised, slow, and inadequate common EU vaccine scheme. As it says, beyond slow approval, “the EU appears to have bought too little, too late and at times from the wrong producers.”

German Health Minister Jens Spahn announced there will initially only be 400,000 vaccine doses for Germany, with millions more not following until well into the new year. By contrast, as of this weekend the UK, with a smaller population, has already delivered 500,000 doses. The failure is clear, and Der Spiegel sets out several reasons for it:

  • The EU “didn’t place concrete orders until mid-November.”
  • The EU purchased too few doses of the vaccine.
  • The EU focussed on the wrong producers, “it appears that it turned down hundreds of millions of vaccine doses that are now lacking.” As Guido reported last week, the EU turned down an offer of 500 million Pfizer doses…
  • The EU was nationalistic in its procurement, leaning heavily on an order of 300 million doses from French company Sanofi, despite American companies showing more promising early trial results.
  • EU countries opposed German attempts to procure more Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, out of a sense of ‘European solidarity’. One EU procurement insider told Der Spiegel “buying more from a German company wasn’t on the cards” in order to achieve balance with the French company.

While the EU now intents to procure a further 100 million doses from Pfizer and 80 million from Moderna, these will most likely not come until the second half of next year. And in the not-impossible case that these are the only two vaccines that are approved, those orders will not nearly be enough to cover the EU’s population. Boris was initially reticent to say Brexit has helped with the UK’s world beating vaccine rollout. As time goes on it looks more like he needn’t have been…

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mdi-account-multiple-outline Jens Spahn
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