EU countries destroyed 4 billion euros worth of anti-Covid vaccines. Where does Romania stand?

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At least 215 million doses of anti-Covid vaccine purchased by EU countries during the peak of the pandemic have been thrown away in the meantime, according to a Politico analysis, which estimates the cost at 4 billion euros. The analysis is based on incomplete data, because some countries refused to make them public, the publication also states, according to News.ro.

At the top of the ranking is Estonia, which threw away more than one dose of vaccine per capita, closely followed by Germany, which also threw away the largest gross volume of ampoules.

The analysis shows that more than 200 million unwanted coronavirus vaccines have been thrown away, but that number is almost certainly an underestimate. Politico’s calculations are based on figures from 19 European countries – 15 countries, including Romania, provided figures directly, and in the case of four, the volumes were reported by local media. Some figures date back to this month, but the oldest dates back to December 2022.

Since the approval of the first vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus at the end of 2020, EU countries have collectively received 1.5 billion doses (may more than three for every person in Europe). Many of these now lie in landfills across the continent. Calculations based on available data show that EU countries wasted an average of 0.7 vaccines for each member of their population.

At the top of the ranking is Estonia, which threw away more than one dose (1.10) per capita, closely followed by Germany (0.98), which also threw away the largest gross volume of ampoules.

In this ranking, Romania is below the European average, in 13th place, with 0.51 discarded vaccine doses per capita, and the last place (out of 19 possible) is occupied by Ireland, with 0.16 doses. If this average wastage rate were projected across the rest of the EU, it would mean more than 312 million vaccines were destroyed, Politico reports.

On the other hand, the number of wasted vaccines tends to correspond to the size of the countries, as absolute figures Germany has 83 million doses thrown away, and Luxembourg just under half a million. In the ranking drawn up according to this criterion, Romania is in fifth place, with 9,777,126 discarded doses. Poland and France, countries larger than Romania, refused to communicate the data.

Politico estimates the value of the 215 million wasted vaccines at over 4 billion euros, based on vaccine prices reported in the media (these were not made public). For countries that reported only the total number of vaccines destroyed, without breaking them down by vaccine type, Politico used a weighted average price of €19.39, calculated based on data provided by countries that provided a breakdown. Again, this figure is almost certainly a minimum. But even €4 billion is a considerable sum, equal to a large infrastructure project or Croatia’s annual health expenditure.

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