Covid-19 vaccine firms must deliver, says EU chief

"Europe invested billions to help develop the world's first Covid-19 vaccines," Ursula von der Leyen said in a live video address to an online-only version of the annual World Economic Forum usually held in Davos, Switzerland.
Last week -- after Pfizer's announced delay but before AstraZeneca's -- von der Leyen vowed the aim was to inoculate 70 percent of adults in the EU by the end of August. That goal now looks in jeopardy.(REUTERS (Representative Image))
Last week -- after Pfizer's announced delay but before AstraZeneca's -- von der Leyen vowed the aim was to inoculate 70 percent of adults in the EU by the end of August. That goal now looks in jeopardy.(REUTERS (Representative Image))
Published on Jan 26, 2021 05:06 PM IST
Copy Link
AFP |

Companies producing Covid-19 vaccines "must deliver", EU chief Ursula von der Leyen said on Tuesday as tensions mounted between her European Commission and pharmaceutical firms over delayed deliveries.

"Europe invested billions to help develop the world's first Covid-19 vaccines," she said in a live video address to an online-only version of the annual World Economic Forum usually held in Davos, Switzerland.

"And now, the companies must deliver. They must honour their obligations," she said.

The Commission is demanding answers of British-Swedish group AstraZeneca and US company Pfizer about delays both have announced to their deliveries to the European Union.

In a sign of concern that pharmaceutical groups might be selling the earmarked doses to higher bidders outside the bloc, it is making a move to require the companies to notify authorities of any exports to outside the European Union.

Von der Leyen underlined that initiative in her speech, saying "we will set up a vaccine export transparency mechanism" to "ensure" the firms meet their contractual obligations to the EU.

The issue is sensitive for von der Leyen, who spearheaded efforts to have the Commission procure more than two billion doses of potential Covid-19 vaccines for the bloc's 27 member states, home to 450 million people.

Last week -- after Pfizer's announced delay but before AstraZeneca's -- von der Leyen vowed the aim was to inoculate 70 percent of adults in the EU by the end of August. That goal now looks in jeopardy.

The pace of the EU rollout has lagged behind the United States, Britain and Israel, though member states including Malta, Denmark and France have started to accelerate their programmes.

In her speech, von der Leyen said the Commission's vaccine procurement was not for the EU alone but also for poorer non-EU countries who are to be supplied through a COVAX vaccination alliance co-led by the World Health Organization.

As part of a longer-term strategy to head off this and future health crises, von der Leyen said the EU would propose a public-private entity under a new European Health Emergency Response Authority.


SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Service members of the Ukrainian armed forces are seen atop of a tank at their positions outside the settlement of Makariv, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, near Zhytomyr. (File image)

    Russian military says it destroyed major Western arms consignment in Ukraine

    Russian military said on Saturday it had destroyed a major consignment of Western arms in Ukraine's Zhytomyr region, west of Kyiv, using sea-launched Kalibr cruise missiles. The defence ministry said in a statement the strike took out "a large batch of weapons and military equipment delivered from the USA and European countries" and intended for Ukrainian troops in the eastern Donbas region where the fighting is concentrated.

  • The 75th Cannes Film Festival - Screening of the film "Three Thousand Years of Longing" Out of Competition - Red Carpet Arrivals - Cannes, France, May 20, 2022. A woman reacts on the red carpet while protesting.

    'Stop raping us': Woman strips on Cannes red carpet against violence in Ukraine

    A woman stripped off on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival to reveal her body painted in the colours of the Ukrainian flag with the words "Stop Raping Us" in a solo protest on Friday. The stunt briefly interrupted the parade of guests in evening wear, including Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba, attending the premiere of their film "Three Thousand Years of Longing" by George Miller.

  • Head of the Institute of Microbiology of German Armed Forces, Roman Woelfel. Germany has detected its first monkeypox case. REUTERS/Christine Uyanik

    Monkeypox: List of nations with confirmed and suspected cases

    The World Health Organization on Thursday said there were 80 confirmed monkeypox cases (and 50 suspected infections) in 11 countries and warned that more cases are likely to be reported as surveillance and testing expands. Which countries have monkeypox cases? Spain has 31 confirmed cases, 24 of which were reported Friday. Portugal has 23 confirmed cases. Dutch health authorities are bracing for several more cases to be reported.

  • A view shows a tank, which was destroyed during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine May 20, 2022. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

    Russia losing ‘UAVs’ in Ukraine, says UK; explains why it could be a setback

    Even as Russia claimed a big win and said it had seized the last holdout in Ukraine's Mariupol - the Azovstal iron and steel works plant - the United Kingdom on Saturday said the country is fast losing UAVs (Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles) that will hit its operational effectiveness. Kyiv estimates its losses to be around $100 billion. Another impact is the fuel and gas shortage.

  • Meta Inc., Facebook’s parent company, has long been accused of not doing enough to prevent misinformation on its social media platforms.

    Facebook slammed for ‘spreading Putin’s Propaganda’ in NATO member Slovakia

    A flood of posts pushing misinformation in Slovakia is putting the spotlight on Facebook for facilitating the spread of pro-Russian theories on the war in neighboring Ukraine, ranging from claims that Kyiv is secretly developing biological weapons to questioning whether President Vladimir Putin's invasion even happened at all. According to the GLOBSEC security think tank, the intensity of false messages is worse here than anywhere else in ex-communist central Europe.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, May 21, 2022