The European Medicines Agency approved Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine on Thursday. The first doses of the vaccine will not reach the EU for a month. The reason for this lies in the USA.
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The background to the late start of delivery of Johnson & Johnson’s corona vaccine in Europe are new doubts that the US will allow the export of vaccines packaged there. The German press agency learned on Friday from EU circles that the company therefore said it had switched its supply chain to bypass the USA. Bottling should now take place in a different location and the change will take some time.
The US manufacturer’s vaccine was approved in the EU on Thursday and the EU has ordered 200 million doses of it. Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) then said on ARD: “The truth is that deliveries can be expected in mid-April at the earliest, according to Johnson & Johnson.”
Originally, the filling – the so-called “Fill and Finish” – of the vaccine developed in the Netherlands and partly produced in the EU was supposed to take place in the USA, also for deliveries to Europe. For a long time it was said that there were assurances from Washington that the quantities intended for the EU would be returned.
Now there is new uncertainty about the American line, confirmed several sources in Brussels. The fact that Johnson & Johnson has switched the production routes for European deliveries is therefore reassuring, said an EU representative.
Former US President Donald Trump had imposed an export ban on corona vaccines that his successor Joe Biden did not lift. Biden merely announced: “If we have a surplus, we will share it with the rest of the world.” But first, Biden wants to set the pace in the USA: From May 1st, all adults should be offered a vaccination.
Spahn sees problems for transatlantic relations
Spahn had criticized the USA on ARD. The health minister said that over the past twelve months, drugs and tests had to be seen again and again that “certain products have not left the USA”. “I find this problematic, also when it comes to being together in the transatlantic partnership.” This must now be discussed with the partners.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is considered something special because it is the only one that is said to offer full protection with just one dose. It can also be kept in simple refrigerators. The EU Medicines Agency Ema rated it as safe and effective on Thursday.