Confusion over crisis meeting between the EU and Astra Zeneca
The company had canceled a meeting with the EU Commission and the member states – now it is time to talk about the cuts in vaccine deliveries. Meanwhile, a suspicious package was discovered at an Astra Zeneca supplier.
In the dispute over the scarce corona vaccine, a crisis meeting between the European Union and Astra Zeneca is supposed to take place tonight after the company first canceled.
The reason for the rejection was that there was currently no point in meeting because of the many open questions. The decision to take part was confirmed by the press department of the group of the EU Commission, it was said in Brussels in the afternoon. An Astra Zeneca spokesman said on request: “We can confirm that we have not withdrawn from the talks with the EU Commission that are planned for today.”
The Commission and the 27 states had called the meeting with Astra Zeneca at expert level for 6.30 p.m. The background to this is the dispute with the British-Swedish manufacturer about delivery cuts. Instead of the expected 80 million vaccine doses in the first quarter, only 31 million should arrive according to EU information. The EU does not want to accept the reason given – problems in the supply chain.
Astra Zeneca had previously agreed to resolve the delivery problems within two to three months. The reason is that the yield in one of the systems is lower than expected. In addition, the company is not contractually obliged to deliver certain quantities. Rather, they have only promised a “best effort”, that is, to make an effort in the best possible sense.
Suspicious package discovered at Astra Zeneca supplier
Commissioners asked why vaccine doses not produced in Great Britain were being delivered to the EU.
In August, the EU ordered a total of up to 400 million vaccine doses from Astra Zeneca and, according to its own information, advanced 336 million euros for development and production. According to the EU Commission, the company should have been stockpiling since October so that the vaccine is ready immediately after approval in the EU. As early as Monday, the EU demanded clarification from the manufacturer – initially without success.
Meanwhile, a suspicious package was discovered at an Astra Zeneca delivery agent. This was announced by the Wockhardt company in Wrexham, Wales, at the request of the German Press Agency. All competent authorities have been notified, it said in a message. The production site, where important steps to manufacture Astrazeneca’s coronavirus vaccine take place, has been partially vacated on the advice of experts. Police in Wales spoke of an “ongoing incident”. Several streets have been blocked. The public was urged to avoid the area.
The EU Commission itself is criticized
The EU Commission itself is criticized because vaccine is scarce in the EU and far fewer people have been immunized in percentage terms than in Great Britain or Israel, for example. This is partly because the funds in the EU are supposed to get market approval instead of just emergency approval – and that takes longer. So the vaccination campaign started later. Biontech / Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have now been approved. Biontech / Pfizer also had production problems in the meantime, but only for a short time.
The French pharmaceutical company Sanofi announced on Wednesday that it would be producing more than 125 million doses of the Biontech / Pfizer vaccine for the EU in the Sanofi plant in Frankfurt am Main from the summer.
Astra Zeneca’s vaccine would be the third corona vaccine approved in the EU. There are still question marks as to whether this will be released for the elderly. Experts from the EU Medicines Agency EMA are currently reviewing the clinical test data and want to make a recommendation for approval on Friday. EMA boss Emer Cooke had not ruled out on Tuesday that this could be limited to certain age groups. But she does not want to anticipate the experts. The background was reports that the Astra-Zeneca vaccine may work worse in older people than in younger people.