The German newspaper Die Welt accused France of delaying 1.8 billion doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer coronavirus vaccine on Friday.
The European Commission is currently under negotiation for the delivery of the vaccines among its bloc to inoculate children and provide booster shots for adults by the end of the year.
France allegedly asked technical questions and requested clarifications which put the unanimous approval required from member states on hold.
Close associates of the European Commission’s health director-general Sandra Gallina said that the director-general was angered by the delay.
Die Welt reported that some diplomats speculated that France was trying to secure a part of the market share of vaccine production for some French companies.
“That would be a disaster for which France would be responsible,” an unnamed diplomat had said.
“Contrary to what has been reported, France has officially backed the (vaccine) contract within the formal European Commission framework. We are asking common sense questions with regard to the public health challenges we are facing,” said a spokesman for France’s Industry Ministry.
Eric Mamer, the chief spokesman for the commission, denied the newspaper’s allegation saying that the contract would be approved within Friday or Saturday of this week.
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