Coronavirus EU puts pressure on pharmaceutical companies to honor agreements – “But vaccines can’t be turned on if they don’t exist,” says THL expert

On Monday, the board will meet to supplement the action plan for its hybrid strategy. The need for updating has been brought about by the emergence of new, more contagious virus variants.

Pharmaceutical company Astra Zeneca’s Friday warning of problems with its vaccine production has raised fears that the start of mass vaccinations will be postponed in Finland as well.

The company will have to cut vaccine deliveries by about 60 percent in the first quarter of the year, according to Reuters.

Initially, large quantities of vaccines, ie hundreds of thousands of vaccines per week, were expected to be available in Finland from mid-February. The intention was to get vaccinations for the elderly. According to preliminary data, the first shipment will be less than one hundred thousand vaccines.

About 3.7 million doses of vaccine were to come before the summer.

“After all, this is a big disappointment if there are far fewer vaccines than originally promised,” commented on the news from a leading expert from the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL). Mia Kontio in HS on saturday.

THL had had time to instruct municipalities to be fully prepared to vaccinate large numbers from the week beginning February 8th.

What What could Finland do to get vaccines according to the original plans?

“After all, Finland is involved in joint procurement in the EU, and we do not have direct contacts with vaccine manufacturers,” Kontio answers the question on Sunday.

According to Kontio, it is likely that already on Monday the European Commission will try by all means to influence Astra Zeneca in order to make the vaccines available according to the original plan.

“The EU is guaranteed to keep up the pressure on pharmaceutical companies, but it cannot turn into vaccines if they do not exist,” says Kontio.

President of the European Council Charles Michel said in an interview with Europe 1 Radio on Sunday that the EU plans to get pharmaceutical companies to honor their contracts by the legal means available.

He did not elaborate on possible sanctions, but said the EU was at least urging pharmaceutical companies to state the reasons for production problems openly. According to Michelin, hitting the fist on the table accelerated deliveries by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer.

EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides Astra Zeneca said it had previously heard on Twitter about Astra Zeneca ‘s delays on Friday and demanded a more precise and predictable delivery schedule from the company.

Ministers in several EU countries have apologized and criticized the delays in the production and delivery of vaccines.

For example, the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte accused Astra Zeneca on Facebook of serious breaches of contract that could lead to legal action. A few provinces in Italy have already suspended vaccinations.

The pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Biontech, whose access to vaccines has also had problems in Finland, also played a part in Conte’s criticisms. There are currently so few vaccines from Pfizer, Biontech and Moderna that age-based vaccination has had to be discontinued in some places.

The marketing authorization for Astra Zeneca’s coronary vaccine will be processed by the European Medicines Agency next week, but the exact date of processing has not yet been confirmed.

In Finland, about 100,000 people have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

In Finland Ministers have not commented on Astra Zeneca’s production problems, but on Wednesday 20 January the Minister for Family and Basic Services Krista Kiuru (sd) said he had talked to Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides.

Kiuruk also emphasized the importance of adhering to the agreed batches of vaccines, their stable delivery schedule and smooth distribution to EU member states in order to combat the corona epidemic.

On Sunday Kiuru did not have time to comment on the latest problems in vaccine deliveries, namely the consequences of the Astra Zeneca production bottleneck, as he was in the pre-negotiations of the Sote Ministerial Group.

On Monday, the board will meet at noon to complete the action plan for its hybrid strategy. The need for updating has been brought about by the emergence of new, more contagious virus variants.

For example, the state could, with a guidance letter from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, urge hospital districts to comply with current restrictions more closely or more proactively.

In the western North, for example, restrictions on the spread of the epidemic are already being observed, although it is now in an accelerating phase. On the other hand, there are also areas in the spread phase where not all the recommendations of that phase are fully followed.

Also on the government’s agenda is the still unresolved issue of border traffic, namely whether immigrants can be forced into testing and quarantine.

On Friday in the evening, the government decided at its extraordinary session to tighten border traffic and testing and quarantine recommendations until 25 February.

Entry to Finland on the basis of employment is limited to what is necessary. At the internal borders, only commuting necessary for security of supply and the functioning of society is allowed as commuting.

The reintroduction of internal border control does not affect the freedom of movement guaranteed by the Constitution, according to which a Finnish citizen has the right to enter and leave the country unless his or her right to travel is restricted.


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