0900-Royalty – Excuses

Willem-Alexander and Máxima say sorry for a Greek holiday trip.

The royal couple has released a filmed statement about the commotion surrounding the autumn holiday, which the Oranges wanted to spend this week in their villa on the Greek coast. In it they apologize.

Personal message from the Royal Couple:

With regret in my heart I turn to you.
Our trip to Greece has provoked strong reactions from many Dutch people. It hurts to have betrayed your trust in us.
Even though the trip was in line with the regulations, it was very unwise not to take into account the impact of the new restrictions on our society.
Our own decision to return was made with the realization that we should not have gone.
From the start of the corona crisis, we have done our best – within the boundaries of the corona policy – to find space and to be there as much as possible for everyone looking for support in uncertain times.
It is a difficult time for everyone. A time of lack, limitations and worries. From fear, anger and insecurity too. We have heard the poignant stories in many encounters, in person and digitally. We feel connected with you and with all those people who have been directly or indirectly affected.
We will continue to work with you to get the corona virus under it. So that everyone in our country can then resume normal life as soon as possible.
That is now the most important thing and we will continue to do so, to the best of our ability.
We are involved. But not infallible.

0899-Royalty: Scandal cont’d.

Princesses Amalia and Alexia only returned from Greece tonight: “Sequel to painful file”

Princess Amalia (16) and Princess Alexia (15) arrived home around 8.30 pm tonight. The eldest daughters of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima arrived by car at Huis ten Bosch palace. The princesses had to stay longer in Greece because there were not enough plane tickets for the whole family, a spokesman for the Government Information Service confirmed to this site. The royal couple arrived at Huis ten Bosch palace on Saturday evening. Daughter Princess Ariane had traveled back.

Royalty expert Marc van der Linden says he is “baffled” about the entire course of events. “It threatens to get completely out of hand. The umpteenth unnecessary follow-up to an already painful file. This again shows a lack of openness.”

Image damage
Willem-Alexander decided to immediately end his holiday in his country home in Greece after he had received a lot of criticism. Politicians, but also others, did not think it was possible that he and his family would go on holiday abroad while the cabinet calls on the Dutch to be careful because of the corona virus and to stay at home as much as possible. Now it appears that the Government Information Service and Prime Minister Rutte have not told that the princesses were left behind. Only full disclosure can help to limit further image damage, says Van der Linden. “This requires quick answers. Why did the boss of the Government Information Service not know where the king was? Why was the government aircraft not used for return? How full was that KLM flight really? Why were two passenger flights not rebooked so that the princesses could still join? And so I can go on and on.” Van der Linden finds it remarkable that Willem-Alexander left his two daughters in Greece. “A king should just keep his children with him. I understand that those children are trying to find distraction. Especially in this day and age. But in view of the fuss that has arisen earlier, the parents should have said that it is not wise for now.”

“Rutte had to report this”
Prime Minister Mark Rutte, responsible for the actions and statements of members of the royal family, will have to explain to the House of Representatives about the royal couple’s desire to travel. He was aware of the King and Queen’s vacation plans. Private journeys of the king are covered by “privacy”, provided due account is taken of the “public interest”. If there is any doubt about this, it is up to the prime minister to raise this with the king, Rutte explained on Sunday. The RVD has announced that it will not make any further announcements. Member of Parliament Joost Sneller of D66 tweets that Rutte “should have reported it immediately”.

0898-Harry & Meghan & Archie

Prins Harry en Meghan delen eerste kerstkaart met baby Archie

The Duchess of Sussex has said she is “cautious” of saying anything too controversial in public for fear of putting son Archie at risk, explaining she can only be proud if she “makes the world better” for him.  The Duchess said she is aware she could be “putting my family in a position of risk” by saying or doing “certain things”, and strives to be “very clear” in her public pronouncements.  Saying becoming a mother has made her “more concerned” for the world’s future, she added: “At the same time I am cautious of putting my family in a position of risk by certain things, and so I try to be rather very clear with what I say and to not make it controversial, but instead to talk about things that seem fairly straight forward – like exercising your right to vote.”  The Duke and Duchess have recently been outspoken on issues close to their hearts, including the dangers of social media, the Black Lives Matter movement, the voting drive ahead of the US presidential election. Speaking about “courageous leadership” to the Fortune “Next Gen Summit”, a members-only virtual conference for which she was not paid a fee to participate, the Duchess was asked how motherhood had changed her.

“It’s interesting because my gut is that it makes you more courageous,” she said. “It makes you so concerned for the world they’re going to inherit, and so the things that you’re able to tolerate on your own are not the same. “For you go every single day, how can I make this better for him, how can I make this world better for Archie? And that is a shared belief between my husband and I.” She added: “As a parent I can enjoy all the fun and silliness and games with my son, but I wouldn’t be able to feel proud of myself as a mom if I didn’t know that I wasn’t doing my part to make it a better place for him.” The Duchess was also asked about social media, following her recent claim that she was “the most trolled person in the entire world” in 2019.

Saying she has not been on social media “for a very long time” for her “own self-preservation”, she added: “I have a lot of concerns for people that have become obsessed with it and it is so much a part of our daily culture for so many people that it’s an addiction. “Like many others, and you know, there are very few things in this world where you call the person who’s engaging with it a user…people who are addicted to drugs are called users and people who are on social media or called users and there is something algorithmically that is in there that is creating this obsession.” Of the “lasting effect” of living in a negative echo chamber online, she warned: “I don’t think people have even started to scratch the surface on what this is doing to us and I wish more for especially the younger generation of women you have the power to turn this around.” Recommending social media users refuse to “amplify the negative” by “hate sharing” things online, she argued: “You don’t reward bad behavior with your dog, so you shouldn’t do it with anything else.”

Asked about how she “found the courage” for her recent decisions, including leaving the UK for California, she said: “It’s not easy. Sometimes making the best decision for yourself and your family might not be the most popular one. “But when you really know who you are and you know what your belief system is, and you live by truth, that can start to peel away the layers of where the fear comes in.” On her plans for the future, the Duchess said she is  “excited to be back home in the States”, and hoped for a 2021 which could see her “engaging and interacting with people” with “boots on the ground back at home”.


What no-deal Brexit means, how it might happen, and how it might affect daily life in the UK

What no-deal Brexit means, how it might happen, and how it might affect daily life in the UK.
After six months of negotiations and a stalemate over key issues, on Friday 16 October, Boris Johnson said the UK must be prepared for a no trade deal with the EU from January, in a strong sign that negotiations with Brussels are coming to an end.  While the Prime Minister appears to be taking a hard line on trade, further negotiations with the Head of the EU Task Force Michel Barnier are expected to take place on Monday.

Is a no-deal Brexit really possible?
Yes, although the precise nature of “no deal” has changed given that the United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020 under the renegotiated terms of Withdrawal Agreement. The UK is now in the transition period, which deep-freezes its membership of the Single Market and Customs Union until the end of the year. It cannot now be extended.  UK-EU trade negotiations have proved frustrating and remain deadlocked over fishing rights, level playing field guarantees and the enforcement of the deal. Failure to agree replacement trading arrangements will mean the UK leaving without a deal on January 1 and trading on WTO terms, which would introduce tariffs and quotas. The Withdrawal Agreement will still be in place, so issues like the Irish border and the so-called “divorce bill” will be settled under its terms, but many other issues remain unresolved. In other words, the original “no deal” may not be possible, but what is now known as “no deal” might better be viewed as a “no trade deal” exit.

What would no deal look like?
The European Union is adamant that there is no such thing as a “managed” no deal –  fearful that making a no deal look too comfortable risks turning it into a self-fulfilling prophecy. That will not prevent the European Commission from making contingency plans to smooth out significant disruption but only on a temporary, unilateral basis and only if it is in the EU’s interest.  For example, the last time no deal appeared to be a possibility the commission made plans for bare bones transport connectivity, which gave UK aircraft temporary but limited permission to land in EU airports.  The commission has insisted there must be no mini-deals but in practice some bilateral agreements are likely to be made. The reality of a no deal is likely to be disruptive, but not world-ending. Or in the earthy phrasing of a senior diplomat from an EU trading power: “No deal won’t be an explosion, it will be a wet fart.”

Traffic passes through Operation Brock on the M20 in Ashford, Kent

Finance & the City
The EU is heavily reliant on London for some financial services and its capital markets. Whether or not there is a trade deal, UK financial services will only be granted access to the EU market on the basis of “equivalence”, which is the same system of regulatory recognition US firms have.  Equivalence is a unilateral commission decision and can be withdrawn at as little as 30 days notice in some cases.  Brussels has already moved to grant equivalence to UK-based clearing houses, arguing that the institutions, which guarantee large deals, are vital for financial stability.

Trade & Customs
Without any formal trade deal, the UK would have to rely on WTO rules – in a model described by Brexiteers as an “Australia-style” relationship. The default commission position is “all relevant” EU legislation will apply to imports and exports, including tariffs, which will mean customs checks. There could be lines of 7,000 trucks at Dover and two-day waits to get into France immediately after the U.K, according to worse case scenarios drawn up by the UK government.  Up to 60 percent of lorries might not have the correct paperwork on January 1, the government said.  The last time no deal was possible, the commission said the UK would have to apply to a licence scheme that currently only cover 5 percent of the volume of hauliers traffic. There is a small risk of a total ban on all meat exports to the EU, if Brussels does not put the UK on its list of countries with high enough food standards.  The commission insists listing will take place as soon as it gets details of the UK’s future food safety regime.

UK Services trade with the EU was worth £89bn last year, all of which is heavily reliant on the ability to transfer data across borders. The UK has already put the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) onto its statute book. For now the EU is refusing to say it will reciprocate the UK’s stated intention of allowing data to flow freely from the EU, but industry experts note that when the US-EU data Safe Harbour data deal collapsed the EU allowed a period of non-enforcement of its rules. Giles Derrington of Tech UKt even if a ‘data drawbridge’ did go up, other legal avenues such as ‘standard contract clauses’ are also available. These are not a fail-safe, but already cover some 80 percent of personal data transfers.

If a point is reached when no deal becomes inevitable, then the interests of both sides would become equally aligned in avoiding a catastrophic outcome. Even with temporary measures in place, the fundamental question of what future relationship Britain and the EU want will remain. No deal is not sustainable for the long term and eventually the two sides will need to return to the negotiating table.


RedTeam recommends immediate closure of schools.

The increasing number of infected students in secondary education since the summer is reason for the RedTeam to sound the alarm. About 10 percent of them test positive, according to the RIVM figures. “Close the schools immediately for two weeks,” say the independent corona experts. People who violate corona rules will be fined more quickly, warn Minister Grapperhaus and the mayors of the 25 security regions. After one warning, a fine immediately follows.
The municipality of Montferland had relatively the most positive tests in the entire region in the past 24 hours. The 30 corona infections found are double the highest number in that municipality to date. This is evident from the latest RIVM figures, which have just been published. Nijmegen is also peaking remarkably. That municipality had 85 infections. The old ‘record’ was 69. This increase can also be seen in the total number of infections in the region where the Gelderlander appears (roughly north of Limburg, Land van Cuijk, a large part of Gelderland and a part of Utrecht): this was 688 in the past 24 hours, and fluctuated around 650 in the past few days.

More than ever
In Culemborg (28) and Bronckhorst (29) there were also more infections than ever, while in East Gelre 25) and Berg en Dal (21) the numbers also remain high, given the size of those municipalities. Veenendaal (approximately 60,000 inhabitants) also remains a municipality that turns darker red on the corona map. For five days in a row, the daily number of infections per day has been between 40 and 70. In the past 24 hours, another 48 infections have been added. Last Friday it was announced that, among other things, at a secondary school in Veenendaal there is a so-called cluster: an outbreak among several students and teachers. Deaths were reported in Heumen and Renkum, while residents of the municipalities Berkelland, Doetinchem, Ede, Lingewaard, Montferland, Oost Gelre and Nijmegen ended up in hospital, in Nijmegen even five.

8015 new position corona tests
Across the Netherlands, 8,015 new positive corona tests have been registered in the past 24 hours. It is slightly less than yesterday, when 8184 positive tests were communicated. It is, however, again much busier in hospitals. The fact that the number of positive tests has fallen does not necessarily mean that there has been a change. In the past two weeks, there were three more days on which the number of registered infections fell, only to increase again in the following days. However, the increase has leveled off somewhat in the last week: growth was on average slightly lower than last week. It should also be noted that more testing is done week by week. More tests lead to more positive cases: so part of the growth could possibly be explained by the increased capacity at the GGDs and the labs where the tests are analyzed.

Much more tests
In the past week, more tests have again been conducted in the GGD test streets. There were 311,188 between 12 and 18 October, the umbrella GGD GHOR reports on the website. That is more than 30,000 more than last week and almost 90,000 more than two weeks ago. The number of tests should grow further this week to about 350,000 per week, a spokesman said. This increase is mainly made possible by contracts that the Dutch government concluded with foreign labs. Availability of tests was a major problem for months, which led to long waiting times at the GGDs. The hope is that these waiting times will decrease, and with it the period that people with complaints will have to stay at home while waiting for a test result. In early October, there was an average of 49 hours between calling for an appointment and the actual test, according to data from the Ministry of Health. After that, it took another 35 hours for the results to appear. The quarantine time was thus about three and a half days. In the hospitals, the number of Covid-19 patients admitted continues to increase. Today there are 1,738, 86 more than Sunday. Of these, 1,359 are in nursing wards, 71 more than yesterday. There are 379 corona patients in intensive care, 15 more than yesterday. The number of new covid admissions is 184 in the clinic and 38 in the ic. Hospital occupancy is also increasing slightly more slowly than a week ago. Despite this, growth is strong, and hospitals have to postpone more and more regular treatments. In addition, more and more staff are testing positive: this leads to failure in the rosters.

0895-Royalty – Scandal

De koning en zijn gezin komen zaterdagavond terug op paleis Huis ten Bosch.

Reconstruction of a Greek tragedy: a rare royal disgrace.

Less than 36 hours after their departure for sunny places, the Oranges returned to the Netherlands on Saturday evening, where the popular anger about their Greek holiday had not yet subsided. Prime Minister Rutte takes responsibility, as he should. What did he know about the vacation plans? Reconstruction of a Greek Tragedy.
Sunday morning, the cameras are running. Mark Rutte graciously takes the blame for the king’s Greek holiday in corona time, dressed casually in a hoodie. “It is my error of judgment and also my mistake not to say in time: we have to weigh that again”, says the prime minister about the vacation plans of King Willem-Alexander. Earlier that Sunday morning, he already sent a letter about the tricky issue to the Lower House. Hadn’t Rutte really thought that a holiday of the king and his family in Greece would attract fire? We won’t know soon. The contact between king and prime minister is secret, a black box. What is certain is that the king himself did not realize that his plans could lead to fireworks. His political antenna failed. While the ministers called on everyone not to go abroad, Willem-Alexander and his family did leave. Top sources remain silent on the matter. “If I say something, I might break the unity of the Crown,” one of them says. It has been agreed that the king is inviolable and the ministers are responsible for his actions. What exactly preceded it? Friday afternoon, 48 hours earlier: almost the autumn holiday, King Willem-Alexander has one more duty. The departing Kazakhstan ambassador to the Netherlands comes by for a farewell audience. The diplomat is not received at the Noordeinde work palace in The Hague, but “at home” at Huis ten Bosch. After this last ceremony, Willem-Alexander can quickly join the rest of the family, which is already looking forward to the approaching trip to sunny Greece.

The Oranges do not want to lose a minute when it comes to holidays. For example, before the summer holidays in 2019, the family will receive journalists for the usual photo session. On their way to the gate of Huis ten Bosch, they are already overtaken by a van with AA registration, in which there are numerous suitcases and a large surfboard. Those things have to go to the government plane quickly, because the summer vacation of six weeks is about to begin. Now the autumn holidays. The family leaves Huis ten Bosch around noon. On the way to Schiphol-East, where the government aircraft PH-GOV is waiting. The Boeing 737 Business Jet has been the new government aircraft since last year. Cost: 90 million euros. Ministers and state secretaries fly back and forth with it. 12 percent of the flights are due to the House of Orange, also for private use. Like this Friday. The Oranges go through a VIP entrance along the military police and walk to the aircraft. In good spirits and not bothered by any knowledge of the figurative bomb that will explode during their flight.

Het regeringsvliegtuig, de PH-GOV

The white PH-GOV is decorated with blue letters: Kingdom of the Netherlands. Usually passengers of the government aircraft get into the hangar, now the aircraft waits outside for minutes, probably for the passengers who board with a covered airplane staircase. They taxi to the Polderbaan and take off at 14.04 hours, for a flight of just under three and a half hours. Usually the king flies himself; in this way he obtains sufficient flying hours for his license, in addition to his work as a guest pilot on KLM scheduled flights. The family is still on the way when the squabbling in the kingdom that they have just left behind erupts. They fly near the Adriatic Sea when Deputy Prime Minister Hugo de Jonge does the weekly press conference, because Rutte is at the EU summit of government leaders in Brussels.
Politics The Hague will follow the live stream of the press conference as always. De Jonge receives a question about the king’s holiday. “It’s not my day job to keep up with that,” he says visibly uncomfortably. Freek Manche, deputy director-general of the Government Information Service and responsible for matters concerning the Royal House, says when asked that he is not aware of the king’s holiday. At that moment the bomb bursts in The Hague. “How the hell is this possible,” exclaims one prominent coalition. In dozens of app groups around factions and ministers, bewilderment dominates. Group chairmen text their MPs who speak about the Royal House. The news is spreading like an oil slick.

Aircraft spotter
In preparation for the press conference, De Jonge spoke briefly with Freek Manche about possible fuss about the King’s holiday. The reason was a tweet from Menno Swart. This aviation journalist has a day’s work following the PH-GOV. He tweets daily about the flights of this aircraft, especially when a royal party is on board, and nowadays also follows the Oranges during state visits. It is not all love between Swart and the royal family. If the journalist incorrectly posts a sound recording in 2019 in which the voice of the king as pilot of the government aircraft could be heard, Willem-Alexander cannot stop himself. In February of this year, at the end of his state visit to Indonesia, he chatted Swart during a traditional conversation with journalists who traveled along. After Friday’s tweet, posted by Swart, unprecedented popular anger arises on social media. The Oranges can get the national wrath at an altitude of 10,000 meters. They have access to WiFi on board the government aircraft. In The Hague, MPs on the left are quick to act when it comes to the House of Orange. PvdA Member of Parliament Attje Kuiken says he cannot imagine that Rutte has not spoken to the king about the holiday. SP Member of Parliament Ronald van Raak says that the king “does not sense the spirit of the times”. GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver tweeted: “If the king is going on vacation now, that is really the wrong signal. We ask people to stay at home as much as possible, then these kinds of messages will not help. “” Joost Sneller of D66 wants clarification, CDA MP Harry van der Molen is tinkering in his kitchen on his marmoleum floor when he sees his smartphone explode. He texts journalists without mentioning the king. “The corona rules apply to everyone. It is undesirable if there is a discussion about this. The image that is now emerging raises questions for many people. I ask the prime minister to clarify this. “” Also member of parliament Bart Smals of the largest governing party VVD cannot avoid distancing himself: “It would not have been my choice,” he says in a slightly muffled manner.

There is only one thing to do: return
After the press conference, Hugo de Jonge feels very uncomfortable. The Government Information Service realizes that there is a lot of traffic on the way. At the end of the afternoon there is telephone contact with the king. There is a growing realization that a huge publicity accident is taking place here. There is only one thing to do. Return. Where the last holiday in Greece was marred by a stupidity, a photo with a Greek restaurant owner well within 1.5 meters, the excuse was quickly made. But apologies cannot be dismissed, in this case. Royal grumpy? The RVD sends out a press release at a quarter to nine. No apologies, Willem-Alexander and Máxima announce that they will return home because of reactions that are “intense”. “We will abort our vacation,” the couple promise. The coalition is annoyed about the mistake Rutte made. “How can you talk all week about how to deal with behavioral change around corona and then do this?”
Even before the decision to return is taken, the government aircraft has already taken off to the Netherlands. An empty leg is what aviation circles call it. The Oranges usually travel the stretch from the airport in Athens to their villa in the Peloponnese by helicopter, over the beautiful Gulf of Aegina. Barely 24 hours after their arrival in Greece, they take the same route back home, in a completely different mood.

Back with KLM
To avoid more criticism, the king decided to take a KLM scheduled flight from Athens to Schiphol. They board flight KL1576 last Saturday evening at the beginning of the evening, passengers in economy class get nothing from the special company. They only see when they walk to the exit at Schiphol through all the messages on their telephone that the king and his family were also flying along. A blue van will be waiting for them on Saturday evening to drive them to Huis ten Bosch palace as quickly as possible. A number of journalists at the driveway on the steps side of the palace saw there just after the landing of the KL1576 that the personal standard of King Willem-Alexander was raised, the flag that flies above the palace when the head of state is in the country. . Forty-five minutes later, the royal party flashes past in the van: the women wearing masks, Willem-Alexander not. The grumpiness can be read on his face. Less than 36 hours after his departure, he is home – after his biggest slip in his kingdom so far.


Do I have to ask my father to take a picture with 80 euros in his hands?

Sharing the problems we have as newcomers is important. We learn from it and laugh about it. I often also tell new Dutch people about the endless problems that I myself experienced in my new home country.
When I first arrived in the Netherlands, I thought it was important to be independent of aid. I tried to arrange a lot myself, which often failed. For example, the application for my student grant.
When completing the digital application, I had to indicate how much my parents earned. I could not submit the form without that information. I called DUO employees and explained my situation. “Sir, my parents are in Syria and my father earns about 80 euros a month and my mother does not work”, I said. “You have to prove that,” said the employee back.
I explained that this situation proves rather difficult. Should I ask my dad to take a picture with 80 euros in his hands, and my mom in the kitchen stirring the pans, and then some houses shot in the background to make it clear that is really about Syria? He had nothing to say, but he insisted that I had to prove my parents’ salary.
I went to the Dutch Council for Refugees and therefore asked for help anyway. There too they had to laugh about the situation. The Dutch Council for Refugees sent an email to DUO that I am a refugee and that my parents are in Syrian war zone. It turned out to be sufficient “evidence” for the institution.
In retrospect, I think it is a shame that I did not fill in my father’s salary. Maybe DUO would be so shocked by his low salary that they even gave him a student grant.

0893-Life with a walker

The story continues; while waking through the city center, I often encounter things, which I always passed by in my hectic life on foot or on bike.



Of course you would never miss a dictatorship, you would think. Sometimes I secretly miss it. For example, if our country is in the grip of a dangerous virus and the government only provides “advice”. If you are not allowed to have an opinion about what the government decides, it can sometimes just have its advantages. The military will just take to the streets if you don’t listen. It works, because Syria is not yet colored on the corona map.
Our country is colored orange. Unfortunately this time not because of a football match or King’s Day, but to show how dangerous the area where we live is. The new corona measures feel like a show that we put on together. That we want to show how well we are doing, while nothing really changes. Shops and catering must continue to have enough customers. That is why the customers do not have to wear masks, but the employees do. We wear a self-made mouth mask from a piece of cloth from the closet, because it looks nicer and matches our outfit. Moreover, it is cheaper than the medical mouth masks.
I am afraid that the new measures and behavior that comes with it will resemble the glass container. Residents separate all the glass in the correct colors, after which it is collected in one large container. We are doing well for the show, but not really.
In my opinion, measures in the Netherlands will only work if we understand the problem properly. Because there are too many people who see corona as a fart. When they walk past it, they put their T-shirt in front of their nose and let it go a few meters further. In my opinion, the Netherlands does not need new measures, but it does need better information. We need to understand the virus. Only then do we get it under control.


Still a corona vaccine in 2020? “If I had to choose now, I would go for Pfizer”

The American pharmaceutical company Pfizer could just be the first to come up with a corona vaccine in Europe and the United States. Pfizer, which works together with Germany’s BioNTech, is in the final test phase and expects the first test results in October. If the test results of the final test phase for a corona vaccine from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer are positive, the pharmaceutical company is considering a market application. Critics in the United States are concerned that Pfizer is going too fast under pressure from President Trump. The pharmaceutical company then emphasizes that he does not want to be a plaything of politics.
The Netherlands, together with the other member states of the European Union, has already placed a provisional order with Pfizer. Earlier this month, the European Commission reached a preliminary agreement on the purchase of 200 million corona vaccines, with an option for an additional 100 million.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla already announced last week that the trials in phase three – the phase in which the potential vaccine is tested on 44,000 subjects worldwide – are progressing well. More than 35,000 test subjects are now participating in the study. Most of them (24,000) have also received a second vaccination. Bourla: “We hope to have all the necessary data in by the end of October.” If this shows that the vaccine works and is safe, Pfizer wants to apply for market licenses as soon as possible from the FDA and EMA, the American and European authorities that judge vaccines.
In the meantime, the vaccine is already in full production, says a spokesman. “This is done at BioNTech in Germany, by Pfizer in Belgium and at three locations in the United States. This way we can act quickly when we get permission to enter the market with the vaccine. ”

Een proefpersoon krijgt het Pfizer-vaccin.

Too fast
In theory, that could be this calendar year. Experts in the United States, however, keep a close eye and fear that pharmaceutical companies will want to go too fast. After all, the pressure to come up with a vaccine is enormous in America: with more than 200,000 corona deaths, the country is more severely affected by the lung virus than any other country. At the same time, President Donald Trump has said several times that he wants a working vaccine on the market before the US elections on 3 November. Last Tuesday, during the first election debate, Trump explicitly mentioned Pfizer as an intended lifesaver. During a press moment in mid-September, the US president even suggested that “it would be a matter of weeks before Pfizer comes with a working vaccine.” That went wrong for Pfizer CEO Bourla, who then emphasized that Pfizer “follows the scientific route” and “certainly does not let political interests drive him off.”
In an open letter, published last week in American media, nevertheless more than sixty scientists and virologists argue in favor of a deadlock for pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer: ‘A vaccine that is brought to the market too quickly will only work in the long term. counterproductive. Don’t be frivolous about safety and the risks of side effects “. That is not going to happen, the Pfizer spokesperson emphasizes: “Absolutely no safety checks will be skipped.”

In addition to criticism of the fast pace at which the test phases are completed, there is also praise. Experts agree that the Pfizer vaccine is one of the most promising. For example, the prominent American microbiologist Florian Krammer says on social media that for the time being he has the most confidence in the American-German vaccine project. “If I had to take a vaccine now, I would choose Pfizer. That seems the most safe and effective. ” Anke Huckriede, professor of vaccinology at the University of Groningen, is also cautiously optimistic. “The vaccine has already been tested on smaller groups in the first two phases. The results showed that it produces a good immune response and that the side effects were fairly limited. ” Still, Huckriede keeps a blow to the arm. “The interim results that Pfizer intends to publish in October will mainly show what the side effects are in large groups of people. It seems very early to conclude whether a vaccine is really effective. ” Pfizer uses a state-of-the-art mRNA vaccine, in which a piece of the genetic code of the coronavirus is injected into the body. The immune system gets to know the virus in this way, so that it can act quickly in the event of an infection. An interesting technique, Huckriede notes. “A big advantage is that the vaccine can be produced quickly and easily. But no vaccine developed in this way has ever been widely marketed. ”
The relatively small BioNTech already has experience with mRNA. For example, the German company developed immunotherapies for cancer patients using this technique. Huckriede: “But they don’t have the capacity to make hundreds of millions of doses of a corona vaccine. That is why the collaboration with Pfizer is a logical one: it is one of the largest players in the pharmaceutical world. ” In addition to Pfizer, the American pharmaceutical company Moderna and the Swedish-British AstraZeneca are also well advanced in the development of a corona vaccine. The latter was long cited as a big favorite to be the first to launch a corona vaccine on the market. However, AstraZeneca’s vaccine trials have been on hold for weeks in the United States, after two subjects developed serious complaints. According to the US authorities, it is still unclear whether there is a link with the vaccine.