Last Friday, Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) talked about the distribution of vaccinations in the EU. Individual states would get much more vaccine than others, although this had been pact between the heads of government exactly the other way around. The chancellor said that it had been decided to distribute the vaccine according to the population key, so Austria should have received about two percent of all doses delivered to the EU. In fact, individual countries such as Malta have so far received much more vaccine, others such as Bulgaria much less; Austria is in the middle of the pack.
“I am glad,” Kurz told reporters Wednesday, “that we are getting closer and closer to a solution.” He said he had spoken frequently in recent days with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, president of the European Council. He had pointed out that the EU’s vaccination strategy had had a different goal in mind, namely that “everyone gets the same amount of vaccine at the same time.”
What has come out, Kurz said, “creates imbalances.” “Austria has not suffered any damage so far,” but further developments would “have a detrimental effect on us” if countermeasures were not taken, he said.
What is planned now? BioNTech/Pfizer yesterday agreed to supply 10 million more vaccine doses than planned for the first half of the year. The companies pledged to bring forward a batch promised for the fourth quarter. The Austrian idea now is that countries that have received fewer doses so far will receive more from this 10-million shipment than they would be entitled to per capita. That would to some extent even out the imbalance that has arisen, the chancellor said.
For Austria, this would mean that we would receive “hundreds of thousands of vaccine doses more,” Kurz said. There is talk of up to 400,000. The proposal is currently being debated at the EU level. However, leaders are aware that the existing, imbalanced supply could become a test for the EU by the second quarter at the latest.
“If AstraZeneca is allowed to continue vaccinating, then we will be able to offer every Austrian a vaccine can by the summer,” Kurz said
— source: heute.at/picture: pixabay.com
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