COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Denmark aims to start local production of coronavirus vaccines in 2022, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said, after previously expressing concern over the European Union’s handling of vaccine procurement.
A new plant to produce vaccines will be owned and operated by the private sector and a tendering process and will be announced in a few weeks, she told Danish media late on Monday.
“We would like to ensure greater security of vaccine supplies on Danish soil,” Frederiksen said. “We see vaccines as part of Denmark’s overall preparedness and thus as critical infrastructure.”
Frederiksen has been critical of the EU’s approach to ordering, approving and distributing vaccines within the 27 nation bloc. She agreed with Austria and Israel last month to set up a joint research and development fund and possibly production facilities for COVID-19 vaccines to ensure long-term supplies.
Denmark’s future plant will manufacture mRNA vaccines, an advanced technology used in the COVID-19 shots produced by BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna, Frederiksen said.
She did not quantify the amount of vaccines that will be produced or give any financial detail.
The foundation that controls Danish drug maker Novo Nordisk said last month it was in preliminary talks with the government about establishing local vaccine production.
(Reporting by Tim Barsoe; Editing by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen, Nikolaj Skydsgaard and Catherine Evans)