I know it’s not the repudiation we hoped for, but the widening displeasure over the deeply idiotic and imprudent contracts that the European Union negotiated with Pfizer and BioNTech for Covid-19 vaccine doses says a lot about where the vaccinators find themselves, politically and socially, at this late hour.
That erstwhile pillar of the vaccinator-industrial complex, the Süddeutsche Zeitung, has revealed a markedly reduced enthusiasm for the vaccines and their procurement in the past months. After attacking the lack of transparency surrounding the contract negotiations, they’ve found the energy to deplore all the worthless vaccine that our health ministers have purchased:
In Germany, by the end of March 2023, around 83 million Covid-19 vaccine doses expired and were thrown away by with the federal government alone. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) has informed a private session of Bundestag budget committee of these developments …
These figures raise many questions. Did Germany, especially under Lauterbach’s predecessor Jens Spahn (CDU), but also during Lauterbach’s tenure during the fight against the pandemic, order too much vaccine? Could they have avoided these costs, which reach into the billions? Or did the state have no choice, because it was not foreseeable how many people would get vaccinated, and how many injections would be needed for effective protection in the longer run?
What devastating answers all of these questions have.
In any case, the EU and the Federal Republic of Germany have purchased far more vaccine than is needed now. As the Ministry of Health informed the Bundestag, Germany has donated 120 million vaccine doses to other countries. Even after these donated doses left the central warehouse, further doses nevertheless expired …
The Ministry explains that additional doses have expired ““at the various stages” of the supply chain. This refers to doses shipped to wholesalers, pharmacies and doctors’ offices. These parties are in turn responsible for “proper disposal,” the ministry explains. They did not provide figures on how many doses had expired and been destroyed by these wholesalers, pharmacies and medical practices. It is possible that these numbers have not been collected.
In other words: The 83 million figure represents a floor; nobody actually knows or is all that eager to tabulate how many doses have been thrown away.
When asked by the SZ, the Ministry of Health did not say how much the expired and destroyed doses at the federal level cost. Publicly available data nevertheless supports the assumption that the costs to the taxpayer … are in the billions.
And that may not be all.
Through the start of 2023, the federal government had ordered a total of 672 million doses for 13.1 billion Euros, generally via the EU. Each jab therefore costs just on average just under 20 Euros … According to the Ministry of Health, by the start of May, around 192 million doses had been injected in Germany, and some of the deliveries are still outstanding.
More than a year ago, the Berlin-based newspaper Tagesspiegel asked whether Lauterbach was threatened with “billions in damages”. At that time, it was already becoming apparent that vaccine could remain unused. In mid-2022, 3.9 million vaccine doses had expired. By the beginning of 2023, there were already 36.6 million vaccine doses. And now, only five months later, it is already 83 million. By the end of last year, approximately 54 million doses had expired and in the first quarter of 2023, approximately 29 million doses had been destroyed, the ministry informed the Bundestag.
Possibly even more vaccine will have to be destroyed. As of the beginning of May, the federal government still has stores amounting to around 120 million doses. Their future is “fraught with uncertainty” and depends, among other things, on the future course of the pandemic, the Ministry of Health informed the Bundestag. The Federal Government still intends to give “unneeded vaccine” to other countries.
Not a single country anywhere on earth can be found to take this stuff.
To avoid having to destroy more vaccine, the EU has now negotiated a partial cancellation of supply contracts with the pharmaceutical companies BioNTech and Pfizer. A “cancellation fee” is due for this, Lauterbach informed the Bundestag. According to reports, Lauterbach did not give a figure. The cancellation fees for unwanted vaccine is likely to reach costs in Germany alone of hundreds of millions of Euros.
While the details of the deal are officially secret, an outraged Polish health minister revealed several weeks that Pfizer and BioNTech have demanded that EU countries pay 50% of the cost for every previously ordered yet unneeded vaccine dose.
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