France delaying EU order for COVID-19 vaccine: Germany's Welt

Diplomats speculate that it may want French companies to play a bigger part in the vaccine production


Reuters May 07, 2021
Vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are pictured in a vaccination center as part of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccination campaign in Geneva, Switzerland February 3, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

France is delaying a European Union order for 1.8 billion doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine planned for the next two years, Germany's Die Welt daily newspaper reported on Friday, citing EU diplomats.

The paper said it was unclear what the reason was for hesitation from Paris, but diplomats had speculated that it might want French companies to play a bigger part in the vaccine production.

Read more: Global Covid-19 death toll more than double official estimates

The paper reported that at recent meetings about vaccine orders, French representatives had held up decision-making by posing technical questions and requests for clarifications.

Due to massive global demand for booster doses as well as vaccines for young people, EU governments fear that they may be too late and lose out on the order.

"That would be a disaster for which France would be responsible," Die Welt quoted one diplomat as saying.

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