AstraZeneca 'aims to deliver' on EU contract after report of more delays
Toni Waterman in Brussels
Europe;Brussels, Belgium


AstraZeneca told CGTN it "aims to deliver in line with its contract" after a Reuters report said a European Union official claimed the drug maker would only ship less than half of the 180 million doses contracted in the second quarter. 

The spokesperson said: "AstraZeneca confirms today [Wednesday] that its most recent Q2 forecast for the delivery of its COVID-19 vaccine aims to deliver in line with its contract with the European Commission."  

The spokesperson did not give specific figures but added that AstraZeneca was "working to increase productivity in its EU supply chain" in order to hit the delivery target.  



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Reuters had earlier cited an EU official it said was directly involved in talks with AstraZeneca. According to this official, the vaccine maker warned during internal meetings that it "would deliver less than 90 million doses in the second quarter." 

An EU Commission spokesperson directed CGTN's questions about second-quarter deliveries to AstraZeneca, but said Brussels and the member states were in contact with the company to ensure "quick deliveries of sufficient numbers of doses."  

AstraZeneca said roughly half of the second-quarter jabs would come from the EU supply chain, while the remainder would come from AstraZeneca's international network. It was unclear whether that would include the UK or if the doses would come from further afield.  


AstraZeneca delivery shortfalls in Europe 

In January, AstraZeneca informed the EU that first-quarter deliveries would come up short. An EU official said the company would deliver only a quarter of the 100 million doses expected. It sparked a nasty public spat between Brussels and AstraZeneca and led to the EU introducing an "export transparency mechanism," which requires vaccine makers to seek permission before shipping doses outside the bloc.  

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, whose office spearheaded the bloc's procurement program, has been heavily criticized for the EU's slow vaccine roll-out.  

She admitted the EU was "late to authorize," "too optimistic" on mass production and "too confident" that vaccine makers would deliver on time.  

The bloc has also faced delivery delays from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, the makers of the other two vaccines approved for use in the EU so far.  

Earlier this month, the Commission launched the HERA incubator to prepare the bloc for mutant variants of the virus and the adaptation of vaccines. As part of the plan, $180 million will go toward research, with an additional $90 million allocated for testing and genome sequencing. 

Brussels aims to immunize 70 percent of the adult population by the end of summer.

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