AstraZeneca to miss European Union vaccine supply target by half in second quarter

Brenda Watkins
February 26, 2021

Canadian regulators on Friday authorized AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine for all adults.

In total, Germany expects 56.3 million doses from AstraZeneca under the European Union contract, which is equal to 18.7% of 300 million doses for the EU.

A spokesperson of the British-Swedish company said that AstraZeneca is constantly revising the delivery schedules and informing the commission on a weekly basis.

Health Canada has given AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine approval for emergency use in this country. Now the drugmaker is raising flags about its second-quarter supplies.

While the company is now not exporting jabs made in the UK, in accordance with a separate contract with the country's government, AstraZeneca has pledged to supply the bloc with inoculations from its global supply chain, including plants in India and the United States, an European Union official was cited by Reuters as saying last week.

"We will reach 1.7 million doses in February for AstraZeneca, instead of 2.5 million that we previously expected", said the health inistry. The UK supply deal relies on production at AstraZeneca's two facilities in Oxford and Wrexham, Wales.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she won't take AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine because she is too old, a comment which comes as millions of Germans refuse to take the vaccine because they do not trust it.

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: A sign is seen at an AstraZeneca site in Macclesfield, central England May 19, 2014.

The EU contract says the sole exception is if AstraZeneca fails to meet "Good Manufacturing Practices", or if a claim "arises from AstraZeneca's wilful misconduct or failure to comply with EU regulatory requirement". An EU official said the company would deliver only a quarter of the 100 million doses expected.

However, from the slides the Commission president Ursula von der Leyen presented to EU leaders during a virtual European Council on Thursday, it appeared clear that this target strongly relies on the "deliveries pending confirmation" in the Q2, of which AstraZeneca shots account for a lion's share. "All authorities tell us that this vaccine can be trusted".

The EU has also seen bottlenecks in the deliveries of the shots developed by BioNtech-Pfizer and Moderna - the only other shots now approved by the EU's drug regulator.

Canada has ordered more COVID-19 vaccine doses per capita than any other country, according to publicly announced procurement deals, but its early rollout has been relatively slow in part because of temporary disruptions in deliveries from manufacturers.

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