First shipment of COVID-19 vaccines arrives in Morocco

Grant Boone
January 23, 2021

80 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca were due to be issued to European Union countries by the end of the March but it now looks like this figure will be around 31 million.

He continued: "The reason this is significant is that many countries had been quite excited for the AstraZeneca vaccine because it's much more easy to distribute, it doesn't need to be held at super-low temperatures".

"I'm sure there are many countries now, including Ireland, who are now looking at those plans and potentially having to change them because they're going to get probably less than half the vaccines that they'd expected only a couple of weeks ago".

A spokesman for AstraZeneca said Friday that "initial volumes will be lower than originally anticipated" without giving further details.

AstraZeneca has warned European Union countries to expect large shortfalls in early deliveries of its coronavirus vaccine, in a further blow to the bloc's vaccination program rollout, European Union officials said.

Reports now suggest that the delay is down to problems at a vaccine factory in Belgium that is working in partnership with the company.

The WHO said Friday it expects to secure almost 150 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine by the end of March - 100 million doses from AstraZeneca's major manufacturing partner in India and another 50 million doses through AstraZeneca itself.

AstraZeneca has blamed "reduced yields at a manufacturing site within our European supply chain".

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Austrian Health Minister Rudolf Anschober has said a delay would be "completely unacceptable".

Researchers at Oxford are bracing for the production of advanced versions of the Covid-19 vaccine that can fight the emerging and more contagious Covid-19 variants, Telegraph reported.

As for Pfizer, the U.S. firm said it had to cut shipments for the next few weeks while it worked to increase capacity at its Belgian processing plant.

The Indian embassy also announced that Morocco received two million doses of the Covishield vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. The EU has ordered 600 million doses from Pfizer.

If approved, the vaccine could start rolling out in early February.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and Mr Michel both say they are still aiming for the target of 70% of the EU population being vaccinated by summer.

Johnson warned on Friday that early evidence showed the new variant could be more deadly as well. Officials have been banking on the arrival of their AstraZeneca orders next month to speed up bloc-wide vaccinations.

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