Coronavirus: EU demands UK-made AstraZeneca vaccine doses

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Stella Kyriakides: “AstraZeneca needs to deliver on its commitments”

The EU has urged pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca to supply it with more doses of its Covid-19 vaccine from UK plants, amid a row over shortages.

The company has infuriated the bloc by saying it can deliver only a fraction of the doses it promised for the first quarter of the year.

It blames production issues at European plants, but the EU says doses made elsewhere should make up the shortfall.

The EU has been criticised for the slow rollout of its vaccinations.

The contract between the EU and AstraZeneca contains a confidentiality clause but the EU has asked the company to release the details nevertheless.

Reports said last week that the EU would get 60% fewer doses of the vaccine than promised for January-March 2021.

The EU reiterated its position after the two sides met on Wednesday evening to try to resolve the issue.

Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides tweeted that the EU regretted the “continued lack of clarity on the delivery schedule”.

“We will work with the company to find solutions and deliver vaccines rapidly for EU citizens,” she said.

An AstraZeneca spokesman said the company had “committed to even closer co-ordination to jointly chart a path for the delivery of our vaccine over the coming months”.

Pfizer/BioNTech, which has an even bigger vaccine-production deal with the EU, is also experiencing delays.

French drug maker Sanofi has announced that it will help produce 125 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab by the end of the year.

The company will allow Germany-based BioNTech to use its facilities in Frankfurt from July, Sanofi said in a statement, having delayed the development of its own vaccine. (BBC)

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