Oliver Henning, BioNTech’s senior vice-president of operations, is quoted saying that the EU’s strategy forced businesses into damaging rivalry.
The book says: “Aside from an advance purchase of doses, it would have been useful, says Oliver Hennig, if the bloc had said: ‘Okay, we will buy enough fill-and-finish capacity for our region, and we’ll give it to whoever is leading.’ Instead, companies had been left to compete over limited resources.”
The EU also took longer than other countries to approve the jab, which has since become the mainstay of its vaccine rollout. The European Medicines Agency suggested it was taking longer than the UK’s MHRA as its procedure required more evidence and safety checks.
But Constanze Blume, BioNTech’s vice-president of global regulatory affairs, rejects those claims in the book, saying: “We only had one clinical trial and we only had one or two manufacturing sites – how can we generate different sets of data?”
New criticism of the EU’s approach to getting jabs out to member states comes after much speculation over battles in Brussels over the vaccine rollout.
Earlier this year, reports claimed that Emmanuel Macron had sought to block the EU from ordering too many doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech jab due to expectations French vaccine makers may start to play a bigger role in the jab rollout in future.
German politician Karl Lauterbach tweeted: “The French insisted for the number of [BioNTech/Pfizer] doses to not be too large compared to [the number of Sanofi doses] although this vaccine was far from ready.”
France’s minister for European affairs, Clément Beaune, strongly denied those claims, labelling them as “unacceptable and false”.