The Netherlands, France, Germany and Italy have decided to fold their alliance to jointly carry out negotiations with pharmaceuticals firms working on coronavirus vaccines and to join the European Commission’s vaccine purchase programme instead, broadcaster NOS said on Thursday.
The alliance was only formed a few weeks ago and had signed one deal – to buy up to 400 million doses of a potential anti-coronavirus vaccine from drugs firm AstraZeneca.
The vaccine, which is still undergoing trials, is being developed at Oxford University in England. The researchers are currently working towards a large scale clinical trial which involves testing the vaccine on 10,000 people.
The alliance was launched at the beginning of this month and would, according to a Dutch government statement ‘allow everyone in Europe – and especially those who are most vulnerable – to benefit from a vaccine.’
According to the NRC, other EU countries had also come forward to join the alliance, and the group will continue to finalise the weekend’s deal with AstraZeneca. However, further steps to buy vaccines will be taken together with the Commission, a health ministry spokesman said.
The initiative is said to have caused irritation in Brussels but on Wednesday the Commission praised the alliance, saying it was ‘an important step’ in a common approach to advance vaccine purchasing.
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