Friday, February 05, 2021
Fear of export restrictions
Briefly warns of shortage of J&J vaccine
400 million doses of the J&J vaccine are to go to the EU. The vaccine is produced in the Netherlands, among others, but has to go back to the USA before it can be exported. Export restrictions there could cause delays. Austria's Chancellor Kurz sounds the alarm.
The vaccine from US manufacturer Johnson & Johnson has not yet been approved for the EU, but some members of the confederation are concerned about the supply of the vaccine. Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and the heads of state of the Czech Republic, Denmark and Greece have sent a letter to EU Council President Ursula von der Leyen, worried about availability, to speak to the USA about the vaccine in advance. This is reported by the "Bild" newspaper.
The EU has ordered 400 million doses from Johnson & Johnson, and the vaccine is produced in Leiden in the Netherlands. However, the vaccine must be sent to the USA again for filling and clearance, as the letter says. There, export restrictions could hinder exports to Europe.
"If that could jeopardize EU access to the vaccine, we should raise the issue now to find solutions with the company to secure the European quantities." Von der Leyen should therefore strive for an "early dialogue at the highest level". The upcoming vaccine from Johnson & Johnson is referred to in the letter as a "game changer" because it is easier to store and transport and only needs to be vaccinated once.
The J&J vaccine has an average effectiveness of 66 percent, according to the company. Severe illnesses avoid the remedy 85 percent. However, the vaccine may be less effective with the South African variant of the coronavirus: In the clinical tests in South Africa, the effectiveness was 57 percent. Johnson & Johnson has already applied for emergency approval for its vaccine in the United States.
The European Medicines Agency EMA announced a week ago that it was also expecting J & J's application for approval for its corona vaccine shortly. On the same day, the EU Commission granted conditional approval for the Astrazeneca vaccine – as the third vaccine after Biontech / Pfizer and Moderna.