EC Responds to Delayed Delivery of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 Vaccine

The European Commission (EC) has provided a statement regarding the delayed delivery of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine to the European Union.

In a January 25, 2021 statement made by the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, the EC reported that AstraZeneca provided an update that it intends to supply fewer doses than what had previously been agreed upon with the EC.

In August 2020, the EC signed an agreement with AstraZeneca for the purchase of 300 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, with an option for a further 100 million doses, to be distributed on a population-based pro-rata basis.

The AstraZeneca vaccine was one of several vaccines in which the EC developed supply agreements. To date (as reported on January 25, 2021), the European Union (EU) has supported the development and production of several vaccines against COVID-19 for a total of EUR 2.7 billion ($3.2 billion).

Due to the response of a delay in vaccine supply, Commissioner Kyriakides said she wrote a letter to the company asking questions. In her letter, Kyriakides reiterated that the EU pre-financed the development of the vaccine and the production and “wants to see the return.” Additionally, Kyriakides said that the EU wants to know which doses have been produced by AstraZeneca and where or if they have been delivered. In her statement, Commissioner Kyriakides said the answer to these questions posed to AstraZeneca “have not been satisfactory”.

She says that the EU wants the ordered and pre-financed doses to be delivered and wants its contract to be fulfilled. In the future, the EC says all companies producing vaccines against COVID-19 in the EU will have to provide early notification whenever they want to export vaccines to third countries.

Since the initial statement on January 25, 2021, Commissioner Kyriakides reconvened with the Steering Board which resulted again in “insufficient explanations” from AstraZeneca.

“We regret the continued lack of clarity on the delivery schedule and request a clear plan from AstraZeneca for the fast delivery of the quantity of vaccines that we reserved for Q1,” Commissioner Kyriakides said in a January 27, 2021 Tweet, “We will work with the company to find solutions and deliver vaccines rapidly for EU citizens.”

Source: European Commission (January 25th statement), European Commission (January 27th statement), and European Commissioner Stella Kyriakides

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