Ten states reject giant vaccine supplies. The Czechia has its own strategy

You can also listen to the article in audio version.

The covid-19 pandemic is returning to its mild summer phase, and the game of covid vaccines is in full swing in the European Union. According to a petition from Eastern European countries, it is high time to open vaccine contracts.

According to them, they closed during the most difficult pandemic time, when the public pushed to buy as many benefits as possible. However, demand has shrunk significantly and the states now want to readjust the agreements.

In a letter quoted by the Politico server, they mention excessive vaccine stocks and efforts to protect their state finances. According to them, contracts should be terminated “if they are no longer needed from a health or epidemiological perspective”. It should also be possible to reduce the number of batches ordered to better meet demand.

Unsurprisingly, the initiative is led by Poland, which has complained about the agreements before. Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia also added their signatures. However, the Czechia is missing from the list of signatories.

As Ondřej Jakob, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health, said for the Report, he wants to take matters into his own hands and use the Czech EU Presidency, which begins in July.

“The Czech Republic, as a country that will take over the EU presidency in 24 days, must in principle remain neutral. As a state, it has not joined the challenges that states address to the Commission for many months, “Jakob said.

“With regard specifically to the issue of contracts for the purchase of vaccines against covid-19, the Czech Republic, of course, agrees that the topic needs to be addressed. However, the EU must act as a whole and the challenges, which reflect only part of the Member States’ positions, will not bring about change, “he added.

According to the statement, Minister Vlastimil Válka from TOP 09 wants to solve the agenda in a few weeks and help the Commission find a suitable compromise when EU member states meet the contractual obligations, but at the same time have the most favorable conditions for taking vaccines already purchased.

“We have been in contact with the Commission and the vaccine manufacturers in this regard for many weeks,” the spokesman added without further details.

Full warehouses, low interest

Why the petition landed on EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides’s table right now is clear: the coronavirus pandemic is entering a mild phase and millions of unused doses remain in storage for European countries, which will have an expiration date in the future. Interest in vaccinations is slim and it is still unclear how it will be in the autumn.

The Czechia is no exception in this regard. According to the information sent to the Ministry by the List of Reports, there are now 7,648,777 vaccines in stock. On the strongest days, only about 4,000 people are vaccinated.

Covid-19 vaccines

Vaccine names Delivered in total In stock in the Czech Republic
Corminaty 21 569 610 5 719 133
Spikevax 3 376 100 1 502 505
Vaxzervia 3 000 000 0
Janssen 1 298 400 123 180
Novavax 312 000 303 959

Note: data as of June 6, 2022

As Minister Válek stated for the Report List earlier, the stored substances should be available for use in the autumn.

“Vaccination must start in late August or early September because antibody levels last for months. If the risk is the end of October to February, then it is necessary that the risk groups be vaccinated sometime from the end of August to the middle of October, “the minister quoted ČTK on Tuesday.

However, according to Politica, the Commission has provided the EU with 4.2 billion doses of vaccines, almost ten times the Union’s population. As of January this year, 1.3 billion doses had been delivered to the 27 states.

The rest is still planned and apparently the Czechia also has an economic interest in resolving the issue of contracts.

According to data released by the Ministry of Health last month, the state ordered a total of 48,741,454 benefits for the years 2020 to 2023, with more than 29 million delivered.

But medics have given only 17.6 million doses since the start of the vaccination campaign, and the rest are still waiting to be used.

The ministry said that the state had so far paid 12,085,840,834 crowns for vaccines, but according to the War, there should not be a situation where tens of millions of vaccines would be eliminated.

“We now have several million vaccines in stock, but they have a long enough expiration time, we have disposed of quite a few. We donate part and now we use it to vaccinate Ukrainians and others. And next year we will get about 10 million more benefits, “he said earlier in an interview with Seznam Zprávy.