Germany and the European Union should massively increase their vaccination production capacities, Germany's vaccine commissioner says. His remarks come as the EU's inoculation drive has been hit by further setbacks.
Germany and Europe need more vaccination production facilities, the German vaccination commissioner says
From 2022, Germany should be able to produce enough of its own vaccines to inoculate the whole population in the case of a pandemic, a top official said on Saturday.
Vaccination commissioner Christoph Krupp told newspapers of the Funke Media Group that, by May, a government task force would put forward a concept to achieve the goal of setting up a state-guaranteed system for vaccine production.
He said the system should include a network of companies that could each take on individual stages of the production process.
Krupp also called on the European Union as a whole to increase its production capacities. "In the case of a pandemic, the Europeans should be in a position to produce a new agent for the entire European population within a quarter of a year," he said.
"That would be 500 million doses. Germany should make a vigorous contribution," he was quoted as saying in a preview of the interview.
Krupp's call for EU and German self-sufficiency in vaccine production comes as the bloc continues to experience hitches in its current vaccination rollout.
In the latest setback, the British-Swedish vaccine manufacturer AstraZeneca has announced that it will be delivering only 100 million of the expected 220 million doses to EU states by the middle of 2021.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn has also announced that the recently authorized vaccine from the US multinational Johnson & Johnson will not be arriving till the middle or end of April.
The European Commission has ordered at least 1.4 billion doses of the four coronavirus vaccines authorized in the EU, which also include the German-US BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine and that from the US company Moderna.
Although the new dose order should be more than enough for the some 450 million people living in the European Union, supply difficulties, export restrictions and bureaucratic tangles have led to a current shortfall in the bloc — which lags well behind the US, UK and Israel with its vaccination program.
tj/rs (dpa, AFP)