BRUSSELS: EU demands that AstraZeneca pay for delays in its Covid-19 vaccine by delivering doses from its UK factories on Wednesday threatened to put the bloc and Britain on a post-Brexit collision path.
The Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical corporation demanded that both the European Union and former member Britain maintain contractual distribution obligations to both of them, even though the company said there wasn’t enough to go around.
“The 27 Member States of the European Union are united in the need for AstraZeneca to deliver on its commitments under our agreements,” EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides told a media conference in Brussels.
“The spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in London: “We want contracts to be adhered to. “Here in the UK, AstraZeneca committed to two million doses a week and we do not expect that to change.” Last Friday, when AstraZeneca told the EU that it could only deliver a quarter of the vaccine doses it had promised for the first three months of this year, the row was triggered.
That infuriated the European Commission, which is preparing this week to add the AstraZeneca vaccine to two others already approved by BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna to help achieve a target by the end of August of inoculating 70% of adults in the EU.
As AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot gave an interview on Tuesday, the rage turned incandescent, saying that his company prioritised supplies to the UK, which had signed its contract three months before the EU did, and was only expected to make a “best effort” to supply the bloc.
Kyriakides claimed that it contradicted the terms of the AstraZeneca contact signed with the European Commission.
“She said, “The argument that the business is not obligated to deliver because we have signed a ‘best effort’ arrangement is neither right nor reasonable.Will there be online exams or not? The decision has been made
“I deny first-come, first-served reasoning. That can work at the butcher’s in the area, but not in contracts, and not in our advanced purchasing agreements.
“She noticed that AstraZeneca had four active vaccine plants in Europe, two in Britain and two in the EU, and the arrangement made little difference between them in terms of the contractual quantities to be supplied. The company’s reasons for the delay varied and the key one was unsatisfactory, speaking of a “yield issue” in one of the EU-based plants, the officials said.
“One of the officials said, “We’re not told what the true problem is. “As the other plants of AstraZeneca, especially in the UK, were unaffected, “their storey is somewhat inconsistent.
The real concern is that we do not have guidance on the route ahead,” said the official, adding: “Which plants will they use to fulfil the contract? ”
However, should AstraZeneca begin diverting the supply of vaccines from the two UK factories, this could jeopardise Johnson’s commitment to making 15 million Britons vaccinated by mid-February.