Poland has notified the European Commission and Pfizer that it refuses to accept the contracted vaccines and pay for them, Health Minister Adam Niedzielski told TVN24. He admitted that the situation could lead to litigation.
Adam Niedzielski was a guest on TVN24’s “Rozmowy Piaseckiego” programme. He spoke among other things about the contracts concluded by the Polish government with the manufacturers of COVID-19 vaccines.
As the host Konrad Piasecki reminded, there are still 25 million vaccines in Polish warehouses, and under the contracts another 60-70 million are to be delivered.
The Health Minister acknowledged that this is one of COVID’s main current problems.
- At the beginning, we started to give or sell these vaccines to countries that did not have access to them. We managed to donate or sell almost 30 million of these preparations. The epidemic situation in the world is much better, so there is no longer that demand,” said the minister.
We have proposed to the European Commission and the vaccine manufacturers that these deliveries, which are expected in such large numbers in the coming quarters, should simply be spread over a period of time, to give more flexibility to the contracts. We proposed to spread the supplies over 10 years and, above all, to pay when the vaccines are received. Unfortunately, we found a total lack of flexibility,” added Mr Niedzielski.
He acknowledged that the contracts are a heavy financial burden and that with them “we have tied our hands”.
- There was no situation where we could seriously change the terms of this contract, and this contract was signed in a crisis situation. We have financial tensions related, among other things, to the influx of refugees from Ukraine and we believe that at EU level we have the right to expect special instruments that would give us more flexibility in these contracts – the minister explained.
At the end of last week, we exercised the force majeure clause. We have informed both the European Commission and the main vaccine manufacturer that we refuse to accept the vaccines for the time being, we refuse to make payments – the minister informed.
Adam Niedzielski did not hide the fact that “the consequence of all this will be a legal dispute”, which “is already happening”.
- We have started with Pfizer, in the coming days, weeks, we will talk to more companies and hope that they will show more flexibility. If we don’t see flexibility from the other side, we will have to use the strictest legal instruments,” the minister said.
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