Eccentric? Default? Vaccine supply between the EU and AstraZeneca remains unresolved

Beijing, January 29 (Xinhua) comprehensive report, recently, the British AstraZeneca pharmaceutical company announced that it will significantly reduce the supply of vaccines to the European Union in the first quarter, causing strong criticism from the European Union. The crisis meeting held by the two sides on the 27th also failed. AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to be approved by the European Drug Administration on the 29th.

The European Union is infuriated by the sudden reduction of vaccine supply

Since AstraZeneca announced on January 22 that it would significantly reduce the supply of vaccines to the European Union in the first quarter, its chief executive, Mr. soboko, has become the target of public criticism in the European Union. AstraZeneca said it could only supply 31 million doses of the vaccine to the European Union in the first quarter of this year, instead of the 80 million doses previously mentioned.

EU politicians are “furious” about this. EU congressman and health expert leacher suggested that if AstraZeneca could not provide more vaccines as agreed, but “treat EU citizens as second-class citizens”, then the EU must take measures, such as banning the export of Pfizer new crown vaccine to the UK.

The European Commission said it would consider requiring vaccine manufacturers to apply for export licenses before supplying vaccines to countries outside the EU. For goods used for humanitarian purposes, the EU will issue and certify them. It is reported that AstraZeneca also produces the new vaccine in the European Union and some of it is shipped to the UK.

German health minister sper said that the purpose of EU’s strengthening export inspection is to know which vaccines are exported, so as to know whether the contracts with suppliers are implemented fairly. Although the supply to the European Union in the first quarter was greatly reduced, AstraZeneca’s supply to the UK will be on time and in quantity, and will not be reduced at all.

They have different opinions on the content of the agreement

For the rebound of the European Union, suboc defended AstraZeneca. In an interview with several European media, he said that AstraZeneca only indicated in the agreement reached with the European Union in August 2020 that it would “do its best” to meet the agreed supply quantity, but did not specify the guarantee of supply. In addition, the UK reached a vaccine supply agreement with AstraZeneca two months earlier than the European Union, so AstraZeneca began to produce vaccines for the UK earlier.

However, the European Commission said that the EU and AstraZeneca reached an agreement only two weeks later than the UK, and the EU also advanced 336 million euros in vaccine production funds to obtain 300 million doses of vaccine. EU health commissioner Stella kiriakides said the statement was neither true nor acceptable.

She said that the agreement between the EU and AstraZeneca had a clear quarterly supply schedule, and the “best effort” clause was included in the agreement because the vaccine had not been successfully developed at that time, and once the vaccine was approved, the agreed quantity must be supplied. The EU wants AstraZeneca to agree to an open agreement to enhance transparency. Kyriagides also stressed that AstraZeneca has moral, social and contractual responsibilities, “we are in a pandemic, losing our lives every day.”

Another focus of the two sides’ disagreement is that the EU has the right to obtain the vaccine produced by AstraZeneca. AstraZeneca has one plant in Belgium and another in the European Union to produce the new vaccine. Souboco said the decrease in supply to the EU was due to production difficulties at factories in Belgium. However, the European Commission pointed out that the agreement stipulates that AstraZeneca will not only produce vaccines for the European Union in the two factories, but also produce vaccines for the European Union in the two factories in the UK. AstraZeneca’s UK factory only produces vaccines for the UK, thus violating the agreement.

There is a huge gap between the goal of vaccination and reality

On January 27, the EU and AstraZeneca held a crisis meeting. Although the participants said that the discussions between the two sides were constructive, the meeting was still fruitless.

“We don’t want to have a dispute with AstraZeneca, what we want is a vaccine, and we hope to reach a solution with the company,” said a person in the EU circle

The European drug administration is expected to approve the AstraZeneca vaccine on January 29. The EU has signed more than 2.3 billion doses of vaccine supply agreements with six new crown vaccine manufacturers. So far, 8.4 million of the EU’s 450 million people have received one or two doses of the vaccine.

At the current rate, it will take more than two years for all willing EU residents to receive two doses of the vaccine. EU countries aim to vaccinate 70% of the population by the end of this summer.

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