The European Union has ordered 120 million doses of the vaccine from AstraZeneca and has received only 30 million, which is why Croatia lacks the vaccine, Plenković said.
Permanent representatives to the European Union have been tasked with arranging the distribution of 10 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine as soon as possible, in a spirit of solidarity, the prime minister said, reporting on the results of the EU summit held on Thursday.
About 405 million people live in countries that do not have a problem with vaccines and about 40 million in countries that have not received the amounts of vaccines ordered, so these 10 million doses would resolve the problem for the countries that are not receiving vaccines, while the others would not feel they missed something, he added.
In a joint statement on Thursday, EU leaders asked the ambassadors to the EU to resolve the problem of distribution of 10 million doses of the vaccine that BioNTech/Pfizer will deliver in the second quarter of the year instead of the second half.
“That means that those who have less will get more,” Plenković said, adding that the aim was to compensate the countries that have ordered the most vaccine from AstraZeneca and less from other manufacturers.
About six or seven countries should be compensated, including Croatia, which would help achieve even vaccine coverage within the EU, the Croatian PM said.
Plenković denied claims that Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz used strong language at the meeting. Kurz was the first EU leader to draw attention to the uneven distribution of vaccines among the EU member states.
Plenković denied the speculation that the agreement would have been reached already yesterday had it not been for the Austrian chancellor’s statement. “No, that was not possible, technically. Had we been physically present in Brussels – maybe, there would have been breaks and we would have explained things to one another.”
“Anyway, this will be sorted. Pfizer will fill in the gap created by AstraZeneca’s failure to meet its obligations,” the PM said, adding that Bulgaria should get the most doses.
With the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine doses as compensation, Croatia hopes to vaccinate 50% of its population by 30 June, which would put it on a level with the EU.
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