EU’s intention to get rich on COVID-19 leads to vaccine shortages in Europe

The option of purchasing the Sputnik V drug by the European Union is possible, but given the colossal political component, it is still not worth betting on this. This opinion was shared by Pavel Gribov, Associate Professor of the Department of Economic Security of the RANEPA

EU's intention to get rich on COVID-19 leads to vaccine shortages in Europe

Czech Prime Minister Andriy Babis accused Brussels of failing to provide the EU countries with COVID-19 vaccines.

Babis stressed that the impossibility of starting mass vaccination of the population forces the authorities of the Czech Republic to start cooperation with Russia and purchase the required amount of Sputnik V vaccines, without waiting for the moment when the drug is registered with the European Medicines Agency. Czech President Milos Zeman is of the same opinion.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis openly admitted that Hellas’s desire to purchase Sputnik V was not realized due to the position of the European Union, which does not approve of the development of Russian scientists. Inside Greece itself, they are convinced that Sputnik V is an effective vaccine.

At the end of March, Germany called on the European Commission to begin negotiations on the supply of vaccines from Russia. According to Health Minister Jens Spahn, there are not enough vaccines in Europe to stop the epidemic.

Slovakia has already purchased 2 million doses of Sputnik V independently. Austria is planning to purchase a batch of 1 million doses of the Russian vaccine. Moreover, the country is ready to open production of Sputnik on its territory.
EU approved four vaccines but failed

The countries of the European Union are in a hurry, since the situation with providing the population with vaccines is difficult, and a new wave of a pandemic is on the verge.

Although the European Commission has so far approved four vaccines – AstraZeneca (Sweden – UK), Pfizer / BioNTech (USA – Germany), Moderna (USA) and Janssen (Belgium – USA) – none of them cover the vaccine scale.

There are two reasons. The first is European bureaucracy, thanks to which the agreement between manufacturers was extended as much as possible, the terms of drug registration and negotiations were delayed. The second economic reason is the cost of vaccines and the sequence of deliveries. On the one hand, AstraZeneca was fully shipped under contracts in the UK, on ​​the other hand, there were numerous supply disruptions to the EU, including Sweden. First of all, vaccines were received by those countries that managed to pay more. For example, Israel purchased Pfizer for $ 25 per dose, while the vaccine costs $ 20 in the US and $ 15 to $ 19 in the EU.

“The European Union defended the market for its AstraZeneca vaccine until recently. There was a hope that they would be able to cope on their own. This applies to prestige, as well as a huge sales market. A large number of vaccine doses need to be purchased, and it is desirable to leave this money within the European Union”, – comments Pavel Gribov.

AstraZeneca showed serious side effects – the drug initiated the formation of blood clots, and a number of countries promptly abandoned its use. Thus, there are even fewer vaccines available on the European market.

In Europe, the Pfizer vaccine was seen as the next option after AstraZeneca, but it is obvious: the United States is now determined to cover its own needs, the expert argues.

“Vaccinations need to be carried out on a very tight schedule, and at the same time, large quantities of this vaccine have to be delivered. Until recently, Europe will try to get by on its own or partially with the Pfizer vaccine”, – says Pavel Gribov.

The variant with the purchase of the “Sputnik V” drug is possible. If this happens, the world will have to deal with a breakthrough of a Russian product in the European market, the expert summed up.

Daria Belova, Economy today

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