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European Union countries clash over unequal vaccine distribution

European Union countries clash over unequal vaccine distribution

March 15, 2021:-Six members of the European Union have raised concerns over how the bloc distributes Covid-19 vaccines after AstraZeneca cut its delivery targets once again.

On Saturday, Austria, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Slovenia wrote to the European Commission to complain that jabs are not being delivered on a proportionate basis between the 27 countries, making the European Union.

It was agreed that vaccines bought by the EU would be handed out proportionately to the country’s population size. But few countries introduced flexibility into the system to choose for more specific vaccine price and maintenance conditions.

The European Commission responded to the letter by saying the distribution is a “transparent process” and that the member states decided to introduce this flexibility.

“Under this system, if a member state decides not to take up its pro-rata allocation, the doses are redistributed among the other interested Member States,” the commission said in a statement.

According to media reports, Bulgaria opted to receive fewer Pfizer and BioNTech devices and more of the shot developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford. As a result, other EU countries were able to buy the excess Pfizer and BioNTech vaccines.

According to data from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, Bulgaria and the other signatories are among the EU nations with the lowest number of vaccines received so far.

Their complaint follows news that AstraZeneca will not meet its delivery targets in the coming months. The Swedish-British pharmaceutical firm confirmed to CNBC that it would deliver 30 million doses to the EU by the end of the first quarter and another 70 million doses during the second quarter.

This comment suggests that the six countries could have dealt with the issue internally rather than writing a letter and making it public.

Paschal Donohoe, Ireland’s finance minister, told CNBC on Monday that if it weren’t for the European Commission’s work overseeing the distribution of vaccines, the issues “would have been greater.”

It is expected to be discussed at the next European Summit later this month.

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