Furious EU citizens break cover to condemn vaccine chaos- ‘Germany could have gone alone!’
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Germany also came under fire with the drug company after a report in German business daily newspaper Handelsblatt claimed the vaccine was only eight percent effective among the over-65s. AstraZeneca quickly denied this but the European country proceeded to add fuel to the fire by announcing the jab should only be given to people aged under 65. German Health Minister Jens Spahn has now warned the country is facing a shortfall of vaccines that could last until April this year.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, citizens from Braunschweig, a city in north-central Germany, said they should not just be blamed for the crisis, but rather the EU as a whole.
One said: “It’s not just a German problem, it’s a European one.
“All the European countries got together in the EU and said they would order the vaccine together.
“So they did, but they were too stingy with their money and now the UK is getting first pick as they paid over the top.”
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Another person added Germany was unable to prevent the vaccine shortages as the country had to follow the EU’s decision.
They said: “Germany could have gone alone but it goes against the policy of the European Union.
“The EU has botched it, not just Germany.”
The furore over the vaccine efficiency came after a statement by the Standing Vaccine Commission at the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s main public health agency, said: “There are currently insufficient data available to assess the vaccine efficacy from 65 years of age.
“The AstraZeneca vaccine, unlike the mRNA vaccines, should only be offered to people aged 18-64 years at each stage.”
“Apart from this limitation, this vaccine is also considered to be equally suitable.”
Mr Spahn also called for restrictions on vaccine exports, saying Europe should have its “fair share”.
He added: “I can understand that there are production problems but then it must affect everyone in the same way.”
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Official figures on Thursday showed 7,447,199 people in the UK had received a first dose of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines.
However, AstraZeneca said initial deliveries to the EU will fall short because of a production issue and so it will not be able to meet its supply targets for the first three months of this year.
The company added initial deliveries in the EU would total approximately 31 million doses, rather than the anticipated 80 million in the first quarter of the year.
EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen called for an explanation from AstraZeneca over the delay, as she insisted the supply orders are “binding” and “the contract is crystal clear”.
Brussels sparked fury this week after demanding AstraZeneca doses be sent from British plants to make up for supply shortages in the bloc’s 27 nations.
The EU and AstraZeneca have now published their contract, which has resulted in the bloc claiming it is evidence they must be sent vaccines from UK factories.
In a section on manufacturing sites, the contract said: “AstraZeneca shall use its Best Reasonable Efforts to manufacture the vaccine at manufacturing sites located within the EU (which for the purpose of this Section 5.4 only shall include the United Kingdom)”.
When the contract was signed, the UK had left the EU but still had to follow EU rules due to a transition period which ended at the start of this year.
The contract went on to say that AstraZeneca may manufacture at facilities elsewhere to accelerate the supply of the vaccine in Europe.
Earlier this week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said vaccines offer the best way the world has of exiting the Covid crisis, before adding that this meant it was crucial to ensure the medicines were fairly distributed around the world.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum’s virtual summit by video link, she said: “It has become even clearer to me than it was before that we need to choose a multilateral approach, that a self-isolating approach won’t solve our problems.
“We see that first of all in the question of vaccination since it is the route out of the pandemic.”
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