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Vaccines. EU distances itself from AstraZeneca

The Commission european said Monday to distance himself from the laboratory AstraZeneca as part of its anti-Covid vaccine strategy in the first trimester, after the important delivery delays of the Anglo-Swedish company.

AstraZeneca, whose product “Was going to be the mass vaccine for the first trimester” 2021, could only guarantee 25% of the more than 100 million doses promised, which represents “A real problem” for the Twenty-Seven, said the Director-General for Health in the Commission, Sandra Gallina, in front of MEPs.

The European Commission is now turning to vaccines manufactured by BioNTech / Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson laboratories, she said.

A new contract BioNTech coming soon

The German laboratory BioNTech on Monday promised to deliver to the EU up to 75 million additional doses in the second quarter of the vaccine developed with the American Pfizer.

“There will be a lot more doses in the second quarter because a new contract will go into effect. We will not only have BioNTech and Moderna but we will have BioNTech with a new contract, it is double the quantities ”, recalled Mrs. Gallina.

The tone has risen in recent weeks between European leaders and AstraZeneca, which has accumulated delays in deliveries of its anti-Covid vaccine, the third to have been approved in the EU after those of Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna.

No vaccines, no payment

AstraZeneca had explained that it could only deliver” a quarter “ doses initially promised to the EU in the first trimester, showing a “Lower yields” in a European factory. But the European Union implicitly accuses AstraZeneca of having favored Great Britain in the delivery of its vaccines, to the detriment of its contractual obligations with Brussels.

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot assured that the company had only promised to ” do his best “ to honor his contract.

“The calendars are restrictive when it comes to the vaccine order form (…) So I do not see where your efforts are there”, replied Mrs. Gallina.

She also underlined that, under the contracts between the EU and vaccine manufacturers, “We can either receive the products or (make us refund) the amounts we have paid”. The European Commission has allocated 336 million euros to AstraZeneca to develop its vaccine and increase its production capacities, although the full amount has not been paid. “I don’t have the vaccine, you don’t have the commission payment,” summarized Sandra Gallina.

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