The EU has been faced with a raft of logistical challenges since it started to roll out the coronavirus vaccine to the European population. The bloc has been heavily criticised for its slow distribution of the jab and for not ordering enough doses. Now it appears several EU countries are facing fresh supply problems, with the issue being particularly bad in Germany.
In December Pfizer-BioNTech, the manufacturers of the first successful jab, said it was having problems delivering the vaccine.
The company ended up postponing the delivery of new batches of its vaccine to eight European nations in December, due to a problem in the loading and shipment process at its plant in Belgium.
Now it appears the bloc is facing similar problems with the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine.
The company is understood to have told the European Commission that after the EU’s regulators have approved the jab, it will be able to provide less doses than previously expected.
Germany was due to receive 56.6million doses this year.
The new mutations of COVID-19 are belived to be partly to blame for the delay, according to Germany newspaper Bild.
They claim that due to the new variants the vaccine has to be adjusted accordingly and goods that have already been produced may not be able to be delivered.
The news comes as a fresh blow to Europe’s vaccine efforts, after Pfizer already cut shipments to the bloc.
Germany said the change in delivery schedule would impact the country’s rollout for the next three to four weeks.
The ministry said: “At short notice, the EU Commission and, via it, the EU member states, were informed that Pfizer [and BioNTech] would not be able to fully meet the already promised delivery volume for the next three to four weeks due to modifications at the Puurs .”
Six EU nations clubbed together to condemn the situation as “unacceptable”, while penning a letter to the EU Commission.
The health ministers of Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia said: “Not only does it impact the planned vaccination schedules, it also decreases the credibility of the vaccination process.”
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