EXCLUSIVE Germany could miss COVID-19 vaccine donation target, accuses manufacturers

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Booths in a vaccination center, temporarily installed in the Erika-Hess ice rink to fight the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic are seen in Berlin, Germany on January 14, 2021. Kay Nietfeld / Pool via REUTERS

BERLIN, Oct. 19 (Reuters) – Germany could miss its target to donate 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine this year due to conditions imposed by manufacturers and insufficient deliveries, a ministry official said. Health in a letter to Brussels seen by Reuters.

The 100 million doses are half of the total promised by European Union member states to the poorest countries this year, according to the European Commission.

But on October 19, the Foreign Ministry said Germany had given just over 17% of that amount.

In a letter to the European Commission’s Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) on Monday, Minister of Health Secretary of State Thomas Steffen said there were “bureaucratic issues. , logistics and legal proceedings ”imposed by vaccine manufacturers on EU countries wishing to donate surplus vaccines.

They make “a rapid response to international requests for assistance almost impossible,” added Steffen.

The letter is the strongest sign to date of tensions between governments and drugmakers over donations. The EU and rich countries whose most vulnerable citizens have already been vaccinated largely are under heavy pressure from the World Health Organization to help deliver more doses to the poorest countries, many of them vaccinated only a fraction of their population.

“With the current increase in vaccine surpluses in many Member States, we will soon be faced with a global allocation emergency,” Steffen wrote. “Some countries may be forced to waste large quantities of precious vaccines that are urgently needed in other parts of the world.”

Obstacles include minimum selling prices, onerous compensation payments demanded from recipient countries and restrictions on distribution to international organizations, he said.

Changes in expected delivery volumes and vaccine dose expiration dates also make planning more difficult, he added.

Steffen said AstraZeneca (AZN.L) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) together could only deliver up to 50 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccines this year, which means Germany is also expected to deliver up to 50 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccines this year. donate Pfizer / BioNTech (22UAy.DE), (PFE.N) and Moderna (MRNA.O) which are the pillars of its vaccination campaign.

In response, Johnson & Johnson said it would help countries with excess doses donate them to other countries, especially using the international COVAX facility, as long as countries meet safety, legal, regulatory and logistics.

The other manufacturers could not be immediately reached for comment.

Most EU countries have pledged to donate AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Many have restricted the use of these vaccines due to very rare cases of blood clotting.

Any shortfall in donations is likely to exacerbate criticism from richer countries, which are deploying boosters and inoculating adolescents considered to be at low risk of COVID-19, as the pandemic rages elsewhere. Read more

Reporting by Andreas Rinke Writing by Zuzanna Szymanska Editing by Mark Potter

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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