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COVID vaccine: EU under pressure over its rollout plan

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COVID vaccine: EU under pressure over its rollout plan
Copyright  Robert Michael/(c) dpa-Zentralbild
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Brussels is coming under increased pressure to justify its COVID-19 vaccine plan, as EU countries complain about a lack of doses and a slow rollout.

Markus Söder, the minister-President of Bavaria - Germany's largest region - described the European Commission’s process for buying and approving the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine as "inadequate", in an interview with German publication Bild am Sonntag.

"The European Commission has probably planned too bureaucratically. Too few of the right ones have been ordered and price debates have gone on for too long,” Söder said.

But the EU defended itself Monday, arguing that its plan was approved at the highest level.

"We want vaccines from different companies using different technologies, so as to have more chance of finding the vaccines that are considered to be safe and effective by the European Medicines Agency (EMA)," Stefan de Keersmaecker, a Commission spokesperson explained.

"The underlining philosophy has always been that we should have this diversified portfolio, which means that we won’t be investing exclusively in one particular company or another," he added. "We’re investing in several different companies. This is an approach which has been clearly supported at the highest level in the Member States."

The EMA is expected to approve the EU's second vaccine this week, developed by Moderna.