© Francois Walschaerts/Pool via REUTERSEuropean Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen holds a news conference on vaccine strategy in Brussels, Belgium, January 8, 2021
The European Commission's president has warned EU member countries against ordering Covid-19 vaccines in side deals, saying it undermines the bloc's own efforts to tackle the virus.

Speaking on Friday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the EU had ordered more than enough doses for everyone in the EU, as Brussels announced its purchase of another 300 million doses of the Pfizer jab.

Von der Leyen took the opportunity to warn member states against making their own side deals with vaccine producers.

"The only framework we are negotiating in is as 27. We do this together, and no member state on this legal binding basis is allowed to negotiate in parallel or to have a contract in parallel," von der Leyen told reporters in Brussels.

Comment: The benefits of being in the EU is you get what they give you, albeit (maybe) at discount prices.

"The whole portfolio covers 2.3 billion doses of vaccines, so this is more than enough to vaccinate the whole European population."

Comment: Note that they intend to use the experimental vaccines on the the whole population (or as many as they can coerce), despite also telling us that the virus is harmless for the vast majority.

The president's comments follow considerable criticism that the EU has not ordered enough doses and rollout has been too slow.

Comment: France isn't as eager to use its citizens as guinea pigs - just yet: French govt announces 'delay' to mass vaccination campaign after just 516 people get one in first week

The EU's vaccination program started on December 27, after the Pfizer vaccine was approved by Europe's regulator.

Earlier this week, the EU approved its second vaccine, produced by US biotech firm Moderna, with rollout potentially starting next week.

European nations are lagging hugely behind the UK, where vaccinations started on December 8. Two jabs are already being rolled out by British medics.

EU's von der Leyen warns about unilateral deals

hungary vaccine
© Szilard Koszticsak / Pool via REUTERSFILE PHOTO: Hungarian soldiers carry the first shipment of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines in Budapest.
"If we only rely on the Western vaccines, the restrictions will have to be maintained for several more months," he said in an interview on Friday, referring to his government's decision to prolong lockdown measures until next month. "If we can find a safe and proven vaccine elsewhere, we can speed up the process."

Speaking to Budapest-based Kossuth Radio, the prime minister reiterated that Hungary was negotiating with vaccine producers in China, Russia, and Israel over possible purchases. Meanwhile, the EU government is insisting that all vaccine procurements should go through Brussels and be subject to the regulatory decisions of the union's drugs watchdog.

Orban pointed out that Britain, no longer an EU member, has benefited from diversifying its vaccine supplies. "The British, instead of letting Brussels do it, negotiated themselves and are in a much better state now," Orban said.

Hungary may be among the EU members most vocally expressing dissatisfaction with the procurement scheme, but it's not the only one going behind Brussels' back. Germany announced on Monday that it had made a deal with Mainz-based BioNtech to supply 30 million additional doses of the vaccine which the company developed with Pfizer.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen gave a warning to side-dealing states on Friday, as she announced additional purchases of the Pfizer/BioNtech drug made by Brussels.

"The only framework we are negotiating in is as 27," she said, referring to the number of EU members. "We do this together, and no member state on this legal binding basis is allowed to negotiate in parallel or to have a contract in parallel."

Orban is well known for his euroscepticism and advocacy for keeping more powers in the hands of individual governments. In the interview, he said that the situation with vaccines "leads back to the fundamental issue that only those rights should be transferred to Brussels that we are certain will be better managed there."