EU vaccine dispute: Austria increases the pressure

Updated March 30, 2021 at 8:06 p.m.

  • Austria and five other countries find the distribution of vaccines within the EU unjust.
  • The Alpine republic is now threatening the EU with blocking an order for 100 million vaccine doses if it does not get a larger share from an early delivery.
  • Sebastian Kurz’s government denies the threatening gestures and speaks of “false information”.

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The dispute between the EU states over the scarce corona vaccines has not yet been resolved. Austria has threatened to block an order for 100 million doses of vaccine from Biontech / Pfizer if it does not get additional quantities, the “Politico” portal reported on Tuesday. An EU diplomat confirmed this threat to the German Press Agency. However, the government in Vienna immediately denied: “The Politico report is based on false information,” said the Federal Chancellery. “We support the Portuguese Presidency in finding a swift solution.”

Austria and five other countries complain that the vaccines are unfairly distributed among the 27 EU countries. Basically, the division is based on population size. However, if a country does not want its share or not entirely, other EU states can buy up the quantities.

Austria wants a larger share of early Biontech delivery

Some governments are particularly betting on Astrazeneca and are now lagging behind due to delivery problems. Austria ordered less from Johnson & Johnson than it would have admitted and therefore fears gaps.

With ten million vaccine doses from Biontech / Pfizer, some holes are to be filled in the second quarter. This is an early delivery from a quota of 100 million cans, for which the EU has an option and which should actually only come in the second half of the year.

Now it is a matter of activating the contract option and distributing the early contingent. The latter has been disputed in the EU for weeks. On Wednesday the EU ambassadors are looking for a solution again. The Portuguese Presidency is preparing a proposal, it said.

Federal Chancellery speaks of “false information”

In addition to Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Latvia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic are hoping for additional vaccination doses. Together with these countries, Austria hoped for a quick solution in the distribution of the ten million cans, “so that we can act quickly on the contract for the additional 100 million Pfizer cans,” said a government representative in Vienna.

The Federal Chancellery has denied the report on the threatening gestures at the request of “Der Standard”. “The report is based on misinformation. We are helping the Portuguese Presidency to find a quick solution,” the opinion said. (hub / dpa)

Scientists have a suspicion why the Astrazeneca vaccine might, in rare cases, cause thrombosis. It is about a mechanism triggered by the vaccine.

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