France delaying EU order for COVID-19 vaccine: Germany's Welt

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FILE PHOTO: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination in France

BERLIN (Reuters) - France is delaying a European Union order for 1.8 billion doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine planned for the next two years, Germany's Die Welt daily newspaper reported on Friday, citing EU diplomats.

The paper said it was unclear what the reason was for hesitation from Paris, but diplomats had speculated that it might want French companies to play a bigger part in the vaccine production.

The paper reported that at recent meetings about vaccine orders, French representatives had held up decision-making by posing technical questions and requests for clarifications.

Due to massive global demand for booster doses as well as vaccines for young people, EU governments fear that they may be too late and lose out on the order.

"That would be a disaster for which France would be responsible," Die Welt quoted one diplomat as saying.

(Reporting by Madeline Chambers; editing by Diane Craft)