EC President says of difficulties with launch of production of vaccines against COVID-19
President of the European Commission Ursula Von der Leyen recalled the difficulties with the launch of the production of vaccines against COVID-19.
"We all underestimated the difficulty for the industry of ramping up a complex mass vaccine production programme from nothing. I wish I had known that last autumn. I would still have been very pleased about the researchers coming up with the vaccine so much faster than predicted, but I would have warned that it could take several more months before it was available in large quantities," she said in an interview with Die Zeit on Thursday.
Von der Leyen noted that delays in the terms of vaccinations are due to the EU's careful approach to the vaccine registration process.
She stressed that at first, manufacturers could not fulfill large orders that were formed by different countries.
"Larger initial orders would have been impossible to honour – even if we had paid out billions extra for this. The current bottlenecks are due to the fact that producing a vaccine is extremely complicated and the start is often shaky. There is a limited supply of raw materials, supply chains for the completely new mRNA technology need to be established and, in addition, demand for these substances from all corners of the globe is extremely high," Von der Leyen said.
She recalled that in early January, European countries faced a shortage of vaccines, so they increased their orders.
As reported, Minister of Health of Ukraine Maksym Stepanov left for to India to conduct direct negotiations with manufacturers on additional volumes of Oxford/AstraZeneca and NovaVax vaccines in 2021-2022 to the already contracted 12 million doses.