Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher has said that the EU Commission should focus on working exclusively with certain trusted pharma-companies such as Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna when developing and procuring 2nd generation Covid 19 vaccines.

The Ireland South MEP was commenting after the Pfizer CEO said it is likely that a 3rd ‘booster’ shot will be needed within the next 12 months.

“There are two primary reasons for why I’m making this suggestion. In the first instance both companies, but in particular Pfizer, have lived up to their delivery commitments.

“Pfizer were open and honest when facing challenges, and crucially when the EU needed additional vaccines, Pfizer came to our assistance. This should count for something in my book.

“Secondly, and most crucially, mRNA-type vaccines have caused us a lot less concerns from a safety point of view. While we shouldn’t discount other forms of vaccine production completely, we now know where we stand with mRNA vaccines.

“Furthermore, the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine has been beset by problems from the get-go. Of the 300 million doses promised to the EU in the first six months of the year, it is expected that only 100 million will be delivered. The EU needs to work with companies that deliver on their commitments.

“Importantly, now is the time to start working with all trusted pharma-companies to address potential bottlenecks in terms of production. The EU has been doing good work on this already. At present, there are 55 production sites in the EU. If we need more, then let’s fund and build more.

“The EU Commission is looking at securing 1.8 billion 2nd generation vaccines and to my mind; Pfizer should be the preferred partner for the Union.

“Last year, we were right to work a number of different vaccine producers as we were facing into the unknown. 12 months later, we know what works and we know who will work with us effectively. It’s now time to start preparing the ground for the next part of ending the pandemic for good,” concluded Kelleher.