Poland has unilaterally pulled out of its contractual commitments to purchase the BioNTech/Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, Well being Minister Adam Niedzielski mentioned Tuesday, citing oversupply and monetary strains attributable to the inflow of hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the battle in Ukraine.
Talking on all-news channel TVN24, Niedzielski mentioned that the federal government in Warsaw had knowledgeable the European Fee and the vaccine suppliers late final week that it was invoking a drive majeure clause within the procurement contract and would refuse each to pay for, or take supply of, additional doses.
Niedzielski defined that the bettering pandemic scenario meant that there was much less want for vaccines. The Ukrainian refugee disaster, in the meantime, had stretched the general public funds.
He added that the federal government had tried to attain a compromise, asking for deliveries to be staggered over the course of 10 years, however “we encountered a whole lack of flexibility on the a part of the producers.”
Niedzielski admitted that the transfer had put the federal government in a authorized battle with Pfizer — which is the EU’s major provider of coronavirus vaccines in partnership with Germany’s BioNTech. Talks with different firms will start quickly, the minister mentioned, including he hoped they may present extra flexibility.
The Fee negotiated provide offers with main vaccine-makers on behalf of EU member nations, and has additionally signed joint procurement contracts with Moderna, Johnson and Johnson, and AstraZeneca amongst others.
“Member states are certain by contractual obligations, however the Fee understands the troublesome place Poland is in,” mentioned Fee spokesman Stefan De Keersmaecker. He added that EU authorities would work to facilitate discussions and discover a “pragmatic resolution.”
BioNTech and Pfizer declined to remark, saying solely that they’d an settlement with the European Fee to produce its COVID-19 vaccine to EU member states.
Final month, Poland was one in every of 11 nations that known as on the Fee to create an EU fund to offset well being prices for Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion. Poland has taken in by far essentially the most Ukrainians of any EU member nation, internet hosting practically 3 million refugees. Poland’s help of its neighbor Ukraine has gained it plaudits all through the bloc, nevertheless it hasn’t been sufficient to unblock EU funds held again over rule-of-law issues.
This story has been up to date with remark from the European Fee.