Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has accused the EU of giving preferential treatment to Malta when distributing COVID-19 vaccines along the continent.
Addressing a press conference in Vienna, Kurz said he suspects vaccine deliveries “do not take place according to a population key” and warned differences will keep on growing.
He said that as it stands, Malta is set to receive three times as many vaccine doses per capita as Bulgaria by the end of June, also singling out Denmark as a country receiving preferential treatment.
Kurz said he suspects side agreements exist between certain EU countries and pharmaceutical companies, although he doesn’t know about them “because they are secret”.
A European Commission spokesperson told Euractiv that there’s no foul play and that while population is the starting basis for vaccine agreements, member states have a right to choose to acquire more or less vaccines based on different parameters, which companies would then use to calculate the number of doses required.
They highlighted that this flexibility is in line with the agreement between the European Commission and member states and highlighted that vaccines are a member state competence.
Malta has administered 113,258 COVID-19 vaccine doses so far, out of which 37,162 are second doses. Statistics show it’s the highest vaccination rate in the EU by far – 24.68 doses have been administered per 100 people, compared with the EU average of 10.48.
Hungary is in second place in the EU, with a rate of 16.4.
Health Minister Chris Fearne has said he expects Malta to reach herd immunity by the end of August.