BRUSSELS (AP) – The European Union (EU) is fighting for full solidarity in the field of coronavirus vaccination on Friday after a week of negotiations over the distribution of extra doses of cracks.
The five EU countries that struggled the most to get the vaccines received additional doses from an alliance of 19 other countries. The three nations were not part of the deal, but showed the difficulties of a compromise policy as COVID-19 cases escalated again.
At last week’s EU summit, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz criticized the 27-nation bloc, saying some countries were receiving more than others for their fair share. EU leaders failed to agree on a correction mechanism, leaving it to their EU ambassadors.
A deal was struck late Thursday evening on how to distribute an early batch of 10 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech with Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia and Slovakia receiving a proportionately large dose. Austria, along with the Czech Republic and Slovenia, did not receive any additional blows.
“We are grateful for the remarkable efforts and solidarity of the EU member states,” said Latvian Prime Minister Kriznis Karic. He said the additional shootings “would bring us closer to our common goal – the collective immunity of the EU”.
Within the framework of the joint procurement program set by the European Commission, the doses are distributed proportionally, but some countries take less than their share. Most EU members think the system works well, but say some countries have mistakenly focused on AstraZeneca personnel instead of diversifying their vaccine portfolios.
AstraZeneca shots are cheaper and easier to treat than Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.
In general, the EU continues to lag far behind countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States in terms of vaccines.
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