The plan is there, actually.
On October 7, the European Union reached an agreement with the US pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson to purchase 200 million doses of vaccine. The member states should receive these as soon as the European Medicines Agency (Ema) approves the Johnsohn & Johnson vaccine in the EU. An option in the contract gives access to 200 million more.
On February 16, Johnson & Johnson finally applied to Ema for approval of its corona vaccine. The hopes on him are great. In the USA, the vaccine has so far shown excellent effectiveness against the coronavirus, and only a single dose has to be administered for full vaccination protection. On Thursday, the drug agency wants to decide on Johnson & Johnson’s application – and in EU circles, the approval is firmly expected.
At the end of this week, the active ingredient from Johnson & Johnson could be vaccinated across the EU. If there were any. But it is not. And according to information from NewsABC.net, it could stay that way for quite a while.
Johnson & Johnson deliveries to the EU only in May?
Because, so it can be heard from informed EU circles, the promised deliveries of 55 million vaccine doses by the US manufacturer to the EU for the second quarter of 2021 could be significantly delayed. In any case, no deliveries had been agreed in March, and there are no clear commitments for April either. According to NewsABC.net, delivery threatens to start in May at the earliest. An insider fears even worse supply bottlenecks than with the vaccine from the British manufacturer AstraZeneca.
The Reuters news agency also quoted an EU official involved in the negotiations with Johnson & Johnson as saying that the pharmaceutical company was “under stress” to keep its promise to deliver 55 million doses by the end of July. An indication of the lack of reliability in the delivery of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can also be found in an internal paper from the Ministry of Health that NewsABC.net has received. The paper, dated Monday, lists the expected delivery quantities for corona vaccines for the second quarter of 2021 – but only from the manufacturers Biontech / Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca. The name Johnson & Johnson is not found in the document.
According to NewsABC.net, the background to the delivery problems is not least the USA. Joe Biden’s administration has ordered large quantities of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, while at the same time maintaining an export ban on corona vaccines already imposed under Donald Trump. This also affects vaccine doses manufactured in the EU via detours. Johnson & Johnson produces its corona vaccine in Leiden, the Netherlands – but it is bottled in the USA.
According to information from NewsABC.net, the EU should therefore endeavor to bring bottling plants for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine into operation within Europe as well, thus avoiding possible bottlenecks caused by the US export ban. The EU Commission left an inquiry from NewsABC.net about the delivery problems at Johnson & Johnson and the measures taken against it unanswered on Tuesday.
Johnson & Johnson does not provide any specific answers
This is not the case with Johnson & Johnson, who responded to a request from NewsABC.net: “We are confident that we can meet our commitments to the EU for 2021.”
The company did not answer specific questions about the supply bottlenecks for the second quarter of the year, but merely referred to its “global production and supply chain”: “We will use our global capacities to meet our obligations to the EU.” expressed itself in a press release following a March 5 meeting with the EU Vaccine Task Force.
In its response to NewsABC.net, Johnson & Johnson at least hinted at delivery difficulties for its corona vaccine in the EU. “In order to accelerate our production and expand our capacities, we have concluded contracts with established manufacturers,” the statement says. Among other things, reference is made to a cooperation with the French pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur, which is to fill the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the EU: “If all our plants are in operation, we can expect our delivery quantities to increase over the course of the year.”