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The double scandal over coronavirus vaccines

American media reports on suspicions about millions of doses of the drug Johnson & Johnson. And sources of the German Die Welt accused Paris of delaying negotiations on the supply of Pfizer to Europe for the sake of building factories in France.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was supposed to cure the European Union of its dependence on the AstraZeneca vaccine, whose reputation has been damaged, if not damaged, by a series of scandals over the potential risks of thrombosis.

Now, the export deliveries of the American drug are at least delayed. In mid-April, one of J&J's contractor plants in the United States was shut down due to contamination of a large batch of the drug — the company had to dispose of more than 15 million doses of the vaccine intended for the American market.

Export shipments were also under suspicion — the European Union, Canada, and South Africa received from 6 million to 9 million doses produced at the same plant in the same period of time. As reported by The New York Times in the regulators of the European Union, Canada, and South Africa, there is no reason to consider them contaminated, but additional checks will take time.

Another hope of the European Union was to be a drug from Pfizer/BioNTech, the first large batches of which began to arrive on the territory of the EU only in the second quarter. Last week, it became known that Brussels is preparing to conclude a new large-scale contract for the US-German mRNA vaccine — the European Union decided to order 1 billion 800 million doses. However, according to sources of the German Die Welt, the negotiation process was delayed due to technical issues of representatives of France. The newspaper does not say what could have caused such meticulousness in Paris, but it voices a hypothesis-perhaps the French authorities hope to transfer production facilities for the production of the drug Pfizer to the country.

Vikram Punia, President of Pharmasintez, does not share the suspicions:

“As for the economic benefits, I can definitely say that there will be no difference, what they produce in France, what they produce in the United States. The cost price and the cost of the product will be comparable. Maybe Pfizer already has facilities in France. It's time to make new capacities. In any case, if, for example, we want to build a new plant today and then pour this vaccine, miracles do not happen — it is at least two years just to develop the infrastructure. This is virtually impossible until 2023. It just doesn't matter at 2 billion, another 50-100 million less is more, really it doesn't really matter.”

Both in Paris and in Brussels, the information was not confirmed by Die Welt. French authorities told Reuters that the country supported the deal for the supply of almost 2 billion doses of Pfizer, and a representative of the European Commission added that the signing of the agreement could take place “in the near future.”

The vaccination campaign in the EU is gaining momentum — this week the European Union broke the mark of 25% vaccinated with at least one dose of the drug. Testing of coronavirus vaccination certificates, which will be called the “green digital pass”, will begin in the EU on May 10. The full launch of the system is scheduled for June.

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