A deal for 300 million coronavirus vaccinations made by the Netherlands, France, Germany, and Italy has been described as ‘unwise’ by a Belgian minister reports NOS. The vaccines could already be delivered to the four countries by the end of the year, but face controversy from a wider European public.
The potential vaccine is being developed by British pharmaceutical company AstraZenieca and the University of Oxford. While still in testing stages, it is seen as one of the most promising vaccines against COVID-19 by the WHO.
Controversy in Europe
The Netherlands, France, Germany, and Italy signed a contract with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for the purchase of the coronavirus vaccinations. The countries want to ensure that the vaccine becomes widely available to a European market.
The deal has sparked widespread controversy from other European countries. Earlier this week the European Commission called the four countries to stop their collaboration. Belgian Health Minister Maggie de Block says that “they are weakening their own position and the positions of all members of the European Commission”. De Block emphasizes that the EU should look beyond just one pharmaceutical company and vaccine. “It is impossible to predict who will find the vaccine first, and who will be able to produce it” says the minister.
The Dutch government has backed up its position, saying that all other European Union member states are encouraged to participate in the deal. Minister de Jonge insists that the deal is essential and will benefit a wide population if successful. “The chance of failure at every stage of development is large” says Health Minister de Jonge, but “the public health benefits outweigh the risks”.
In the coming months, the vaccine will be tested on 10,000 people as part of a large scale clinical trial. The exact cost of the full deal has not been disclosed but the pharmaceutical company has stated that it will make the vaccine available at the cost price.
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