EU and AstraZeneca reach settlement over vaccine delivery
The settlement ends the EU's legal action with the company and means both parties can forego the hearing in Belgian courts scheduled at the end of this month.
According to the settlement agreement, AstraZeneca will deliver the remainder of the doses scheduled under the original contract within a newly negotiated timeframe.
It has agreed to provide 60 million more doses of Vaxzevria to the bloc by the end of the third quarter, another 75 million by the end of 2021, and the last 65 million by March 2022.
EU member states will be provided with regular delivery schedules and capped rebates will apply in the event of any delayed doses. The rebate, though, will not be granted in the event that the delay in delivery is beyond the reasonable control of AstraZeneca, which will bear the burden of proof in this regard.
By the end of last month, the drug maker had released over 140 million doses for supply to the EU, of which 16 million are in the process of being delivered.
EU commissioner for health and food safety, Stella Kyriakides, commented: "Today's settlement agreement guarantees the delivery of the remaining 200 million COVID-19 vaccine doses by AstraZeneca to the EU. While this week we reached the important milestone of 70% full vaccination of the EU's adult population, there are significant differences in vaccination rates between our member states, and the continued availability of vaccines, including AstraZeneca's, remain crucial.”
A percentage of those pending Vaxzevria doses will likely be donated by the EU to COVAX, with Kyriakides talking up global vaccine cooperation and solidarity; she said the EU is aiming to share at least 200 million doses of vaccines through that global facility with low and middle-income countries until the end of 2021.
Ruud Dobber, executive vice president, BioPharmaceuticals business unit, AstraZeneca, said the company is also engaging with the Commission in a joint effort to further support COVAX.