Austria is considering a partnership with Denmark and Israel for the production of vaccines against covid-19 to “no longer depend solely on the EU”.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, anxious to “no longer depend solely” on the European Union with the criticized strategy, announced possible cooperation with Denmark and Israel for second-generation vaccines.
While the common Brussels approach was “correct in principle”, “the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is too slow to approve vaccines and there are bottlenecks in supply from companies pharmaceuticals, ”lamented Sebastian Kurz in a press release sent to AFP on March 2.
“We must therefore prepare for other mutations and no longer depend solely on the EU for the production of second generation vaccines,” he added.
The head of the Austrian government goes to Israel on February 4, where he is to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Prime Minister of Denmark Mette Frederiksen in order to launch this unprecedented partnership, covering both production and research “in the years to come up”.
For Mette Frederiksen, the world “cries out” for its desire to increase the pace. She hopes for “long-term collaboration” to lay the foundations for a “sustainable production” strategy.
“Right now, there’s a lot of emphasis on vaccines here and now. But we also have to make sure that we will have enough in a year and then two, three, five, ten years, ”she said.
The president of the Austrian Association of Vaccine Manufacturers (ÖVIH), Renée Gallo-Daniel, called the strategy between the three countries “very, very innovative” and “good”.
On the other hand, she also warned, in an interview with the national radio, that it took “normally five to ten years to set up a production and at least a few months to a year to reorient an existing production installation”.
Try their luck alone
More and more EU countries are emancipating themselves from the tutelage of Brussels, while more than half of the Israeli population has already received at least a first dose.
In comparison, only 7.8% of the Danish population and 4.8% of the Austrian population received a first injection.
The Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary have already turned to other modes of supply, Russian and Chinese, without the green light from the EMA.
For its part, the European Commission estimated by the voice of a spokesperson on March 2 that apart from vaccines already “covered by the common strategy”, “nothing prevented member states from having talks or contracts ”with pharmaceutical laboratories.
Brussels is also looking into the issue of second-generation vaccines: a “bio-defense” plan, called the Hera Incubator, was announced in mid-February.
It is intended to stem the spread of variants, such as those which have appeared in the United Kingdom, Brazil or South Africa and which are worrying by their increased contagiousness and their possible resistance to current vaccines.