In view of the production delays of AstraZeneca and Pfizer, the European Commission decided to limit vaccine exports to Covid-19 to cases where pharmaceutical companies were able to respond to orders initiated by EU countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) sees this restriction as a new form of nationalism and argues that the vaccination plan should give priority to health professionals and risk groups around the world, and only then should it expand to the majority of the population , who has no professions or clinical risk records.
The position was taken by two WHO leaders at the Davos Forum, which is taking place this year in digital format, due to confinements and travel restrictions. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director of WHO, argued that the logic that favors certain countries over others may prolong the time necessary for the global social and economic recovery.
In addition to classifying these types of strategies as a “catastrophic moral failure”, Ghebreyesus considered that the lack of a global vaccine distribution plan will “keep the pandemic going and… diminish the economy’s ability to recover”.
This position was supported by the Brazilian doctor Mariângela Simão, who also takes on a position in the direction of the WHO and who described the restrictions on the export of vaccines as a “very worrying trend”, says the BBC.
About 95% of vaccinations took place in 10 countries and only two countries with average incomes and one country with incomes classified as low initiated immunization programs.
To this scenario of concentration of vaccines in few countries of the Globe, the dispute that the European Commission had at the end of the week when revealing that the Swedish pharmaceutical AstraZeneca is not meeting the deadlines of the orders that it accepted after entering into a confidential agreement is added. . Brussels also expressed dissatisfaction with Pfizer, as it did not deliver vaccines on time.
In the case of AstraZeneca, the delays were justified by failures in the activities of the factories located in the Netherlands and Belgium. The pharmaceutical company also points the finger at the allegedly late dates when the orders will have been signed.
On the other hand, Pfizer justified the delays with the expansion works of a factory located in Belgium. In relation to Pfizer, the production of vaccines also takes on international policy features – which refer to the UK’s own exit from the European Union.
The European Commission considers that vaccines produced by Pfizer in factories in the United Kingdom are primarily targeted at European citizens. This claim can take on unpredictable diplomatic contours, since recently a new legal tool was approved that gives the 27 member states the possibility to veto exports of vaccines, whenever they consider that the interests of the respective populations are not protected.
” The protection and security of our citizens is the priority and the challenges we are facing have left us with no alternative but this one”, says an official European Commission position cited by the BBC.
The European Commission has ordered 400 million vaccines from AstraZeneca, 300 million from Sanofi-GSK, 400 million from Johnson & Johnson, 600 million from Pfizer-BioNTech, 405 million from CureVac, and 106 million from Moderna.
Restrictions on vaccine exports are expected to affect a total of 100 countries – but there are also a total of 92 countries that are not covered by these rules. Some countries in the Balkans, Norway, Switzerland, Lebanon, Israel and North African countries are included in the exceptions.