The EU does not want to extend the supply contract with the Swedish-British vaccine manufacturer AstraZeneca for the time being. At the same time, she suggests that the second-generation vaccines could become more expensive than planned.
MIn the middle of the legal dispute with the vaccine manufacturer AstraZeneca, the EU Commission has decided not to extend the supply contract for the time being. “We have not extended the contract beyond June,” said Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton on Sunday. But he didn’t slam the door for new supply contracts. “We’ll see what happens,” he said. Breton added that AstraZeneca’s Covid drug was “a very good vaccine”.
The commissioner also indicated that the cost of second-generation vaccines could increase due to additional research and possible changes to industrial facilities. The EU Commission has signed a contract with partners Pfizer and Biontech for an additional 1.8 billion doses of their corona vaccine, which is to apply until 2023. “It may be that there is a little extra cost,” Breton told the radio station “France Inter”.
The Commission is currently in litigation with the company over delivery delays. The first round in the process between the EU and AstraZeneca did not bring any decisive rapprochement at the end of April. The lawyers of the EU Commission asked the Swedish-British company in a court in Brussels to immediately provide vaccination doses from all of its production sites listed in the contract – including those in Great Britain, which is no longer part of the European Union. AstraZeneca’s lawyer argued that there was no such obligation. The court is aiming for a decision in June.
Only a third of the original delivery quantity
In addition to the UK, AstraZeneca has factories in the EU countries of Belgium and the Netherlands. The group had promised the EU that it would deliver 300 million vaccine doses between December 2020 and June this year, including 180 million in the current second quarter. In March, however, the company announced that it would probably deliver only a third of the originally targeted delivery volume.
The European Medicines Agency EMA is investigating cases of a rare nerve disease in connection with a vaccination against the coronavirus with the drug from AstraZeneca. As part of a regular review of the safety reports for the Vaxzevria vaccine, data on cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) would be examined, as the EMA announced on Friday, without a number of cases.