Czech Republic declines intermediary's offer for AstraZeneca vaccines

FILE PHOTO: A man receives a shot of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine during a trial run of a mass vaccination center located inside a gym in the town of Ricany near Prague, Czech Republic, February 25, 2021. REUTERS/David W Cerny/File Photo

PRAGUE (Reuters) - The Czech Republic has declined an offer to buy AstraZeneca Plc's coronavirus vaccines from an intermediary in the United Arab Emirates, Czech officials said on Wednesday.

Health Minister Jan Blatny said the offer was not officially from the UAE but that it came from an unnamed third party.

"An offer arrived from this country from an intermediary, for a purchase from India," he said on Twitter.

"It concerned a batch that does not have a permission for the European Union," he said.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis later said he did not take the offer - or a similar proposition last month - seriously.

AstraZeneca said there should be no private sector supply for sale or distribution of the vaccine in Europe.

"If someone offers private vaccines, it is likely counterfeit, so should be refused and reported to local health authorities,” a company spokesman said.

AstraZeneca has licensed the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world's largest vaccine maker, to manufacture the shot mainly for poor and middle-income countries. A spokesman for SII said the company has not authorized any party in the UAE to act as a reseller on its behalf.

The number of infections, hospitalised patients and deaths in the Czech Republic, a country of 10.7 million, has spiked in recent days. The country ranks among the worst-hit places in the world.

The government deployed more police officers and soldiers on Monday to help enforce new lockdown measures that seek to confine people mostly to their home districts.

Last month, Babis said in parliament that he and three other prime ministers in Europe had been offered AstraZeneca shots by a Dubai intermediary but he did not consider the offer to be reliable.

(Reporting by Robert Muller and Jan Lopatka in Prague; Additional reporting by Alistair Smout in London and Euan Rocha in Mumbai; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall and Christian Schmollinger)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3

Next In World

Britain to add India to COVID-19 travel red-list - health minister
U.S., Russia security advisers discuss presidential summit prospects - White House
Cuban President Diaz-Canel made Communist Party leader, ending Castro era
Hope and caution as Portugal further eases COVID-19 lockdown
Five people stabbed in attack inside Albania mosque
EU hits Myanmar junta members and two military companies with sanctions
New direction needed: EU launches website for citizens to discuss its future
Pakistan urges Taliban to stay engaged in Afghan peace process
World can bring pandemic under control within months - WHO chief
WHO panel against requiring vaccination proof for travel - statement

Stories You'll Enjoy