Peter Liese supports European Commission strategy / mRNA vaccines more adaptable to mutations and manufacturers more reliable


"The decision of the European Commission not to use the options with the manufacturers of the vector vaccines Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca and instead to rely more on mRNA vaccines is right. In the short term, however, we must use all vaccines authorised in the EU in order to be able to offer every EU citizen a vaccination by summer," commented the  MEP and health policy spokesman of the largest group in the European Parliament (EPP- Christian Democrats), Dr. med. Peter Liese, on reports of corresponding decisions by the European Commission.

"The vaccines from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson are an important help to finally make a vaccination offer to all citizens in the EU and, if possible, to establish community immunity by the summer. This (also called herd immunity) means that so many people are vaccinated that the incidence of infection is dramatically reduced as a result. The existing contracts with 200 million doses of Johnson & Johnson and 300 million doses of AstraZeneca are more than sufficient to achieve this. Unfortunately, however, not only are there slightly more side effects and slightly less efficacy with vector vaccines, they also cannot be adapted to the dangerous variants as easily as mRNA vaccines.

Furthermore, both AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson have not treated the European Union fairly. The case with AstraZeneca is serious because they have not honoured their supply commitments and have treated EU citizens as second-class citizens, especially compared to the UK. Johnson & Johnson, while trying to meet its supply commitments for the third quarter, which is not yet certain, has only belatedly started supplying the European Union, four weeks after approval. Therefore, the companies need not be surprised if the European Union now relies on other manufacturers. The side effects of vector vaccines are very rare and can be treated.

That is why I appeal to everyone who receives an offer of vaccination and for whom the vaccine is recommended to take up the offer. It is important to consult a doctor immediately at the first signs of side effects, especially if severe headaches, noticeable bleeding, abdominal pain, shortness of breath or similar occur from the fourth days after vaccination onwards. Overall, I am very confident that we will defeat the pandemic in the course of the summer. However, for this to happen, it is not only necessary that the supply commitments are met now. If that happens, it will be possible to make every European, an offer of vaccination before the end of the summer. We must now also ensure that people get vaccinated," Liese concluded.

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