AstraZeneca, one of the pharmaceutical companies developing a coronavirus vaccine has added “non-lialiblity” clause to the eventual release of its product: the company wishes not to held liable for any potential side effects.
Some of the countries that had placed advanced orders with AstraZeneca are in the process of digesting that information. One such country is Belgium, where an advisory body issuing advice on potential coronavirus vaccines to the government gave the green light to the deal AstraZeneca proposed for its vaccine, Belgian news outlet Le Soir reported.
The committee saw no reason not to accept the terms of the deal as laid out by the pharmaceutical company, with a decision yet to be reached by the federal government. Federal Health Minister, Maggie De Block, said that no agreement had been reached and that negotiations with AstraZeneca were still ongoing.
“We are being kept informed on a daily basis,” she told news outlet, Het Laatste Nieuws. “We don’t want that clause. Other member states don’t want it, and neither does the European Commission.”
For its part, an AstraZeneca executive informed Reuters that most of the countries requesting the doses had already granted its non-liability request. In his statement the executive refused to name specific countries, however.
The executive went on to say that AstraZeneca could not afford to take the risk of facing liability claims if “in four years time the vaccine is shows side effects.” He stressed that for most countries it is acceptable to take the risk “because it is in their national interest.”
Out of the 300 million doses of the vaccine already secured by the EU, some 4 million are set to go to Belgium. The vaccine would be used for most vulnerable groups.