Commission President warns AstraZeneca it must meet contractual obligations on vaccine supplies

26 Janvier, 2021, 19:09 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • COVID-19 vaccine

The move came after two contentious vaccine steering board meetings on Monday between European Union and national officials and representatives of the British-Swedish pharmaceutical conglomerate, which informed Brussels on Friday that vaccine production would fall far short of its contractual obligations to the EU.

In a sign of the EU's frustration - after Pfizer also announced supply delays earlier in January - a senior European Union official told Reuters the bloc would in the coming days require pharmaceutical companies to register COVID-19 vaccine exports.

The EU has not yet approved the AstraZeneca vaccine but has ordered 300 million doses of the jab.

The Pfizer vaccine is manufactured in Europe but the bulk of the AstraZeneca vaccine is manufactured in the UK.

On Friday AstraZeneca told the European Union that there would be delivery delays in the first quarter of this year following an announcement made by Pfizer a week earlier.

The company said the United Kingdom's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation supported the vaccine's use in the elderly.

The company has said it will now deliver 60 percent fewer doses to the bloc during the first quarter than initially projected, and there were initial reports of varying production difficulties.

"To create a truly global common good", EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the World Economic Forum's virtual event in Switzerland.

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The EU official involved in the talks with AstraZeneca said expectations were not high for the meeting, in which the company will be asked to better explain the delays.

The bloc already lashed out Monday at pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, accusing it of failing to guarantee the delivery of coronavirus vaccines without a valid explanation.

"The EU will take any action required to protect its citizens", Kyriakides said in the statement.

Pfizer says it has temporarily reduced vaccine deliveries as it is changing the production process at its plant in Belgium to raise overall output.

Kyriakides wrote to the company and stressed the importance of delivery in line with the schedule laid out in the agreement, a spokesperson said today.

In separate reports, German daily papers Handelsblatt and Bild said the vaccine had an efficacy of 8 per cent or less than 10 per cent, respectively, in people over 65 years of age.

A week ago it became known that the Armenian Ministry of Health chose to buy a vaccine against COVID-19 made by the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

The sense of urgency has escalated with British-Swedish pharmaceutical group AstraZeneca announcing last Friday it will not meet its Covid-19 vaccine delivery commitments to the EU.

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