EU Commission frustrated with 'lack of clarity' from AstraZeneca over vaccine deliveries

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/aleksejplatonov
© GettyImages/aleksejplatonov

Related tags Astrazeneca COVID-19 Vaccine

EU health commissioner, Stella Kyriakides, last night again expressed dissatisfaction with the responses the EU executive has received from AstraZeneca over the company's announcement there would be significant shortfalls in the supply of its COVID-19 vaccine to the EU.

Her statements, in a series of tweets, followed a number of phone calls between the EU executive and the British-Swedish pharma giant earlier in the day.

EU member states are united, she said. “Vaccine developers have societal and contractual responsibilities they need to uphold.”

It is anticipated that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will grant emergency authorization to AstraZeneca’s vaccine against COVID-19 on Friday [January 29] this week.

The bloc signed a deal with AstraZeneca in August last year for an order of 300 million doses, with an option for 100 million more. The company's vaccine deliveries to the EU-27 were expected to commence on February 15, with some 80 million doses to be distributed in the bloc by March.

But, last Friday [January 22], AstraZeneca told the Commission that "reduced yields at a manufacturing site within our European supply chain"​ would trigger a drop in the number of initial doses for EU member states, according to Reuters.

Export of vaccines from the EU

In a press briefing​ yesterday, Kyriakides said: "The EU has pre-financed the development of the vaccine and the production and wants to see the return. The EU wants to know exactly which doses have been produced by AstraZeneca and where exactly so far and if or to whom they have been delivered.”

She said the EU officials want clarity on transactions and full transparency concerning the export of vaccines from the EU.

"In the future, 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,"​ added the health and food safety commissioner. 

Humanitarian deliveries would not be affected by this though. 

"The EU will take any action required to protect its citizens and rights,"​ she stressed. 

The Commission is scheduled to have another meeting with AstraZeneca tomorrow to discuss the matter further.

The company has not responded to our requests for comment on the situation.

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