Belgium temporarily missed out on 2.5 million vaccines due to a missing signature
Wednesday, 20 January 2021
A missing signature caused Belgium to temporarily miss out on 2.5 million coronavirus vaccines, Knack magazine reports on Wednesday.
In mid-November, the European Commission and EU member states bought 200 million vaccines of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. Belgium participated in this purchase and, according to the European distribution key, was to receive about 5 million doses in order to vaccinate 2.5 million people.
Almost a month later, on 15 December, the Commission announced an option to purchase an additional 100 million vaccines. Xavier De Cuyper, head of the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products (FAMHP) and responsible for Belgian purchases of vaccines in the European Union, indicated that Belgium wanted to participate.
But the FAMHP forgot to sign the participation document in time, according to Knack, cancelling the opportunity to benefit from these 2.5 million additional vaccines.
While the pace of delivery was called into question, this error threatened Belgium with a shortage of doses, Knack wrote. The dossier became a priority and landed on the desk of Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.
Fortunately, at the beginning of January, the European Commission negotiated a new order for 200 million doses of vaccine with BioNTech/Pfizer, again with an option to buy 100 million more doses. De Cuyper then tried to recover the “lost” vaccines, with success. Belgium was able to recover the 2.5 million additional doses under the new order.
According to Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke, the “loss” due to the December incident has been corrected and therefore does not compromise the vaccination schedule. “We have solved the problem and Belgium is back on the European train. There is no impact for our country on the number of vaccines, nor on the delivery schedule,” he said.