Several EU countries urge Brussels to adjust vaccine distribution mechanisms

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Tuesday that he and allies in Eastern Europe are pushing for the European Union to adjust the way COVID-19 vaccines are distributed following complaints of unevenness.

Reported by Reuters.

Kurz, as well as the leaders of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Latvia, and Croatia, wrote to the heads of the European Commission and the Council of the European Union last week, stating that the distribution is not taking place according to the size of the population, as agreed.

Kurtz’s opponents accused him of trying to divert attention from his government for the relatively slow pace of vaccinations.

The EU has a mechanism for redistributing the remainder of doses when others do not take their prorated share, and the European Commission said that member states must decide if they want to go back to a purely demographic approach.

“It should be possible to develop a correction mechanism here,” Kurz said at a press conference with his Bulgarian, Czech and Slovenian counterparts after a meeting that the leaders of Croatia and Latvia joined via video link.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel are working “to find a solution,” Kurz added.

According to the latest weekly report from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, Bulgaria and Latvia have introduced the first dose of vaccine to the smallest proportion of their adult population in the EU — 4.1% each.

In Malta, this figure is 14.9%, in Austria — 7.8%.

Five Countries Call for Reconsideration of Coronavirus Vaccine Distribution within EU

Latvia, Austria, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, and Bulgaria are calling for a European summit to discuss the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine among EU states.

This is stated in a joint letter of these states, reports ERR.

“We urge you … to hold a discussion of this important issue among the leaders of (European states) as soon as possible,” says a letter sent to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel.

Representatives from five countries emphasize that some pharmaceutical companies do not supply coronavirus vaccine on a fair basis.

“If this system persists, it will continue to create and increase huge imbalances among member states by the summer, as a result of which some countries could achieve herd immunity in a few weeks, while others would be far behind,” it says.

Note that on Friday, March 12, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said that some EU countries could secretly sign contracts for additional vaccine supplies. He claims that he has data that confirms the suspicions.

In his opinion, the supply system “does not correspond to the per capita quota system.” As an example, he cited Malta, which “by the end of June will receive three times more doses than Bulgaria … until the end of July.”

Earlier we reported that the EU will issue vaccination passports in case of vaccination with vaccines approved by the EU regulator.

The Czech Republic abandoned Sputnik V without the approval of the EU regulator

The head of the Czech Ministry of Health, Jan Blatny, refused permission to use the Russian vaccine against the coronavirus “Sputnik V” without its prior approval by the EU regulator.

According to Czech television, during a speech to the deputies of the lower house of the country’s parliament, Blatny said that vaccination against coronavirus in the Czech Republic will take place only with the use of drugs approved for use by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). “My position will not change while I am a minister,” the politician stressed.

Earlier, Czech Prime Minister Andrei Babis announced the desire of the country’s authorities to use the Russian vaccine against the coronavirus “Sputnik V”, without waiting for permission from the EU regulator. The same position is held by President Milos Zeman. Before that, Babis said that the authorities will not use the “Satellite V” before it passes the registration procedure in the EU. The corresponding application to the European regulator EMA was submitted by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) in February.

Scandal in the Czech Republic: the president was called an imbecile for the PR of the Russian vaccine

Zeman demands to dismiss opponents of simplified legalization of Sputnik V from the Cabinet of Ministers

A scandal erupted in the Czech Republic after President Milos Zeman demanded that Prime Minister Andrej Babis dismiss a number of ministers opposing the simplified legalization of the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine.

This is reported by Novinky.CZ edition.

According to the head of state, Minister of Health Jan Blatny, Foreign Minister Tomasz Petricek, and head of the State Institute for Drug Control Irena Storova are the biggest obstacles to the import of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine into the Czech Republic.

The president claims that Blatny and Storova are “guilty of people continuing to die” due to their refusal to authorize vaccinations in the Czech Republic with Sputnik V, which, unlike other vaccines in use, has not been approved by the European Medical Agency (EMA) The European Union.

In response, opposition MPs called Zeman’s actions unacceptable and dangerous. According to them, this is lobbying for the Russian vaccine.

The head of the Czech Pirate Party, Ivan Bartosz, recalled that the president does not have the authority to dismiss ministers: “This role does not belong to him, and the voters did not give it to him. The problems with vaccines should be solved by experts, not politicians.

According to the head of the movement of independent mayors STAN Vita Rakusan, Zeman’s statements are dangerous: “It is obvious that the president is lobbying for the Russian vaccine to such an extent that it even threatens the constitutionality of the Czech Republic.”

“The nineties are over,” the chairman of the People’s Party, Marian Yurechka, told Zeman. “It is unacceptable for the president to demand the dismissal of Blatna, who does not meet the interests of Russia and China and rejects the non-standard procedure in the event of a vaccine exclusion.”

And former minister and ex-deputy Miroslav Kalousek urged the Czechs to think better at the next presidential election: “This is not treason, do not worry and do not take it seriously. This is just a statement by a sick old man in a late stage of dementia.”

Prime Minister Babis rejected President Zeman’s call for the dismissal of ministers, noting that personnel changes in the government were not being discussed. He said that now the government has other tasks besides personnel division in the cabinet of ministers.

“We are focusing on vaccination, there are no personnel changes in the government,” the prime minister said.

Recall that it was Zeman who asked Putin to provide the Czech Republic with the Russian vaccine.

We also recall that the decision to purchase Sputnik V turned into a serious political crisis for Slovakia, due to which the government of a neighboring country could collapse.

The Czech Republic began to send seriously ill coronavirus abroad

The first coronavirus patient from the Czech Republic was brought to southern Poland on Tuesday, as the country has few places to receive patients in intensive care units.

This was reported by the AR agency.

The 68-year-old woman was transferred to the town of Raciborz in Poland from a clinic in the town of Usti nad Orlici in the Pardubice region.

Foreign Minister Tomasz Petricek said that six more patients from another region are to be transported to Germany.

The Pardubice Region was the first of 14 regions in the country to say last week that intensive care units at its five regional hospitals were overwhelmed with serious COVID-19 patients.

The Pilsen Region in western Bohemia issued a similar statement, while several individual hospitals elsewhere were forced to transfer their patients to clinics across the country.

Health Minister Jan Blatny warned that this week will be the most critical for hospitals in difficulty.

According to his ministry, 8,478 COVID-19 patients required hospitalization on Monday.

Over the past two weeks, the seven-day daily death rate in the Czech Republic has risen from 1.44 per 100,000 on February 22 to 1.88 on Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University. This figure is the worst in the world.