BERLIN (AP) – Austria and Denmark intend to stop relying solely on the European Union as their sole supplier of coronavirus vaccines and will work with Israel to produce second-generation vaccines, the Austrian chancellor said.
Sebastian Kurz is scheduled to visit Israel with Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen on Thursday and speak with his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, about cooperation in vaccine research and production.
The EU has been criticized for the slow progress of its vaccination program, while Israel has already vaccinated much of its population. Kurz explained in a statement sent to the Austria Press news agency on Tuesday that it was correct in principle to take a European approach to vaccines, but noted that the European Medicines Agency has been slow to approve new drugs and stressed in the supply problems of pharmaceutical companies.
“We must prepare for new mutations and we should not rely more solely on the EU for the production of second generation vaccines,” he added.
According to the agency, Kurz said that Austria and Denmark “will not depend on the EU in the future and in the coming years will produce doses of second-generation vaccines against additional new mutations of the coronavirus together with Israel, in addition to jointly investigating treatment possibilities.”
So far, Austria has vaccinated just under 5.5% of its population.