More problems with AstraZeneca vaccine deliveries, adding to the slowness of countries to comply with national vaccinations. After announcing at the end of January that it could only deliver 31 million, instead of the 80 million agreed in the worst case -120 million in the most optimistic scenario-, pressure from Brussels managed to start the company’s commitment to reach up to 40 million. Nevertheless, according to Reuters and has been able to confirm elDiario.es, the company returns to the starting box, and recognizes that it will not be able to exceed 30 million doses between now and the end of March due to international supply problems that point to the vetoes of US exports and the clauses signed with the United Kingdom.
The Internal Market Commissioner, Thierry Breton, regretted this Thursday night the problems of AstraZeneca, to which he asked “responsibility”. Eric Mamer, spokesman for the European Commission, has avoided confirming the specific problems: “More efforts are needed, we are not going to go into concrete figures, but more efforts are needed from the company to achieve its objectives.” Is there a risk of large cuts from AstraZeneca? “Yes”, has recognized Mamer, without wanting to give details.RELATED
As elDiario.es has learned, the company confesses to being disappointed and recognizes problems in the international supply network due to export restrictions, although they do not name any specific country. That is, problems with the United States, as recently denounced by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, or even with the United Kingdom, with which AstraZeneca has a commitment to “Britain first “, as the company has said on occasion.
Thus, the 180 million doses for the second quarter are in danger. Three weeks ago, a company spokesperson told elDiario.es: “Approximately half of the expected volume will come from the EU supply chain, while the rest will come from its international supply network. Right now AstraZeneca is working to increase productivity in its EU supply chain and leverage its global network to deliver 180 million doses to the EU in the second quarter. ”
But, as elDiario.es has learned this Friday with strong knowledge of the case and, by virtue of those problems with international supplies, half of those 180 million are in danger.
Indeed, if between April and June AstraZeneca only insures the 90 million doses manufactured within the European Union, half of the 180 million agreed, and if the laboratory already accumulates the delay of the first quarter of this year distributing 30 million, the AstraZeneca’s total supply to the EU could be around 120 million doses by the end of June, well below the 300 million it promised to deliver by that date.
“The good news is that we now have a fairly broad portfolio of vaccines,” said Breton this Friday, 24 hours after authorizing the Janssen vaccine, which in any case will not arrive until well into April: It takes time to build on existing infrastructure. It’s true. Some factories, some suppliers are doing well or very well, others not so well. [AstraZeneca] They have stated that they have certain problems in certain places. They are quite identified. I said, of course, you have to do everything you can, that’s your commitment. It is the management of the company that has to find the solution. “
Meanwhile, the Austrian Government has denounced this Friday that an unequal distribution of vaccines is taking place in the EU. The Austrian Federal Chancellor, the conservative Sebastian Kurz, specified that after speaking with several of his European counterparts they have detected that there are several countries, such as Malta, Denmark or the Netherlands, that have many more doses than others, such as Bulgaria or Croatia. “If this continues, Malta will have in the next few months three times more vaccines than Bulgaria (in relation to its population), while the Netherlands will have twice that of Croatia,” Kurz said at a press conference.
According to the Austrian Chancellor, there was a confidential agreement between the so-called “steering committee of the European Union” of health policy experts and the pharmaceutical companies. In what Kurz called a “bazaar,” some countries managed to get more vaccines than initially agreed.
European Commission spokesman Eric Mamer said: “Member States can decide to have less or more than one vaccine, and they can negotiate a different contract between themselves, and once they agree, they sign a new contract with the producers “.