BRUSSELS – The European Union fought in AstraZeneca on Monday, accusing the pharmaceutical company of failing to deliver the promised coronavirus vaccine doses to the bloc despite EU funding being made available to increase vaccine production

The EU, which has already faced heavy criticism of the slow adoption of vaccines in its 27 countries, also warned that within a few days it would ask for all COVID-19 vaccines made in the block to be approved for export

“The European Union will take all necessary measures to protect its citizens and their rights,” said Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides

The 450 million EU and the economic and political clout of the world’s largest trading bloc is lagging far behind countries like Israel and the UK in introducing coronavirus vaccines for its health care workers and the most at risk, despite more than 400000 confirmed virus deaths since the beginning of the pandemic

The shortage of AstraZeneca vaccines, which is expected to receive EU medical approval on Friday, coupled with hiccups in the delivery of Pfizer BioNTech shots, is putting pressure on member states

The deficit is all the more annoying when Kyriakides said the EU paid 2.7 billion euros (28 billion) to several pharmaceutical companies to support the rapid development and increase the production potential of several vaccines

Kyriakides immediately received the support of the largest member of the bloc for the vaccine export control plan

“We as the EU must be able to know whether and which vaccines are being exported from the EU,” said Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn. “This is the only way we can understand whether our EU contracts with manufacturers are being served fairly. An obligation to approve vaccine exports at EU level makes senseHumanitary deliveries would be excluded from this

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, had urgent talks with AstraZeneca boss Pascal Soriot, and the EU countries also met with AstraZeneca to encourage the British-Swedish company to ramp up its vaccine production and its contractual agreements Achieving goals

“The company’s responses so far have not been satisfactory,” said Kyriakides, adding that a follow-up meeting is planned late Monday

The EU has pledged to buy 300 million AstraZeneca cans with an option of 100 million additional shots. Late last week, the company announced that it would reduce an initial quota from 80 million to 31 million

The European Medicines Agency will review the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine on Friday Approval is eagerly awaited The AstraZeneca vaccine is already in use in the UK and has been approved for emergency use by half a dozen countries including India, Pakistan, Argentina and Mexico

AstraZeneca’s announcement that it would be supplying fewer vaccines to the EU early on has only increased the pressure on the 27-nation bloc, especially since Pfizer-BioNTech, the first vaccine to receive EU approval, got it last week Failed to deliver on promised deliveries to the EU Pfizer has temporarily reduced vaccine deliveries to the EU and Canada as the Belgium facility is being renewed to increase overall production Italy has threatened to sue Pfizer for delays

Political pressure stimulated the European Commission, which is the executive branch of the EU, to act on Monday with von der Leyen calling the AstraZeneca boss

“She made it clear that she expects AstraZeneca to adhere to the terms of the pre-purchase agreement,” said spokesman Eric Mamer

“She reminded Mr. Soriot said the EU had invested significant sums in the company up front to ensure that production was ramped up before the European Medicines Agency granted the conditional marketing authorization “

The company said in a statement that Soriot “stressed the importance of working in partnership and how AstraZeneca is doing everything it can to get its vaccine available to millions of Europeans as soon as possible””

The delays will make it more difficult to meet the early targets of the EU target of vaccinating 70% of the adult population by late summer

The EU has signed six vaccination contracts for more than 2 billion doses, but so far only Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have been approved for use


World news – FI – The EU is putting pressure on AstraZeneca to deliver the vaccines it has promised