AstraZeneca will increase its COVID-19 vaccine deliveries to the EU by 30%

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/solarseven
© GettyImages/solarseven

Related tags: Astrazeneca, COVID-19, Vaccine

The pharma giant had announced last week that it could deliver only 25% of the doses originally promised to the EU-27 for Q1 2021 due to production issues at one of its European factories. But it has now agreed to send 9m additional doses and will start deliveries one week earlier than scheduled.

The development was revealed in a tweet yesterday by EU Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen.

She told​ German broadcaster, ZDF, that the COVID-19 vaccine volumes now promised by AstraZeneca represent a 30% hike on what the pharma company was saying it could offer Europe last week. 

The EU Commission wants 70% of people to be vaccinated by the end of summer, said von der Leyen in that interview.

Vaccine authorized for emergency use in EU 

AstraZeneca’s vaccine was granted a conditional marketing authorization (CMA) in the EU on Friday [January 29] for active immunization to prevent COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2, in individuals 18 years of age and older.

Following review of the application, the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency based its positive opinion​ on data from a rolling review of trial data from the primary analysis of the Phase III program led by the University of Oxford.

Additional safety and efficacy data for the vaccine will continue to accumulate from ongoing clinical trials and is expected to be published in the coming weeks.

The CHMP recommends two doses of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, formerly AZD1222, to be administered at a four- to 12-week interval in people aged 18 years and older. This dosing regimen was shown in clinical trials to be safe and effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19, with no severe cases and no hospitalizations more than 14 days after the second dose, said the company.

'Constructive meeting'

Yesterday saw a videoconference take place between the Commission and the CEOs of the pharmaceutical companies with which the EU executive has signed COVID-19 vaccine deals: BionNTech/Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, CureVac and Sanofi.

“It was a very constructive meeting, with numerous practical suggestions.”

The parties also explored requirements for rapid development, manufacturing and regulatory approval of vaccines for COVID19 variants in the EU.

The debate was led by von der Leyen, also present on the EU side were commissioners Stella Kyriakides and Thierry Breton, the president‘s coronavirus special advisor, Peter Piot. Executive director of the EMA, Emer Cook, also attended, while Moncef Slaoui, who headed the US operation Warp Speed to develop a vaccine, opened the discussion. 

Pfizer to boost vaccine supply to EU 

Today, BioNTech and Pfizer said they will increase their COVID-19 vaccine deliveries to the EU, commiting to send up to 75m extra doses to the EU-27 in the spring.

“Pfizer and BioNTech continue to work toward increased deliveries beginning the week of February 15, ensuring we will supply the full quantity of vaccine doses in the first quarter we contractually committed to and up to an additional 75m doses to the European Union in the second quarter,” a​ccording to statement the companies issued to AFP.

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