(Berlin) Despite receiving a green light from European authorities on Thursday, German Health Minister Jens Spann warned on Friday that the first dose of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine would be delivered “quickly” from mid-April.
“We have European authority, but we know that deliveries will take place in mid- or late April,” European health officials said at a press conference shortly after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was approved.
“The agreement with J&J will lead to negotiations with the European Commission,” he said, noting the reasons for the delivery delay.
For the previous three labs (Bioentech / Pfizer, Modernna and Astrogeneneka), deliveries have almost begun in the wake of their marketing authority, with Europeans having to wait before the first injections.
“The deal (with Johnson & Johnson) was signed in October, so the question of what happened must be asked,” he said, adding that 300 million euros (approximately 450 million Canadian dollars) had been paid in advance. The group increases its production capacity.
When asked also on Friday about the cause of the delay, Angela Merkel spokeswoman Stephen Seibert spoke of America’s reluctance to export doses from their country as a possible explanation for the European supply problem.
Although vaccines produced in Europe are being shipped worldwide, other countries such as the US and the UK “can do nothing,” Seabert said.
“This is something that the European Commission will discuss with businesses and governments in other countries,” he said.
If the Johnson & Johnson laboratory has production sites for its vaccine in Europe, its dosages are sent to the United States in what is known as the “filling and finishing” process, i.e. bottling and packaging.
When exported back to Europe, it falls under the purview of the “Defense Production Act” signed under President Donald Trump, which requires Americans to prioritize vaccines made in their own country, limiting exports of actually manufactured vaccines to the United States.
Johnson & Johnson’s production has been criticized by the European Union’s green light for the EU’s vaccination program, which has been criticized for slowing down not only in Germany, but also in other countries.
The EU has signed an order for 200 million doses of this American vaccine, with the option to add an additional 200 million.
The team on Thursday confirmed its commitment to deliver 200 million doses by the end of the year, without specifying a timetable.
The first to be given the green light in this vaccine union is that only one injection is required instead of two, in addition it can be stored at refrigerator temperature.
Sweden will receive about 3.3 million lower doses of the estrogen vaccine than expected earlier this year, health officials said on Friday.
Health Minister Lena Hollengren spoke on the public television SVT on “India and the United States Export Prohibitions”. “Together with other EU countries, we are examining the situation and possible actions.”