EU officials have reportedly lashed out at the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca but failed to secure commitments that would address the massive shortfall in the production of coronavirus vaccine that is likely to leave the bloc short of at least 75 million doses during the first three months of 2021.
Speaking on the matter, Stella Kyriakides, EU health commissioner, tweeted that the commission regrets the lack of clarity regarding the delivery schedule and requests a definite plan from AstraZeneca for rapid delivery of the amount of vaccines that the commission had reserved for Q1.
Further, Kyriakides insisted that the European Commission would work with the company for addressing the situation and delivering the vaccines rapidly to EU citizens. However, the assurance seemed void after the EU threatened legal action, raise the prospect of vaccine export restrictions, and slammed AstraZeneca for failing to live up to the contractual, societal, and moral obligations, emerging empty-handed from the meeting.
Apparently, the failure of winning any concrete restitution from the company has surged political tensions across EU member countries, with the coronavirus pandemic still raging and political leaders under continuous pressure to explain the reason for EU’s lag for delivering vaccines to citizens when compared to the countries like Israel, the United States, and especially the U.K.
According to the sources familiar with the matter, tensions are soaring over the situation in the U.K., where AstraZeneca is headquartered and is where the company is manufacturing its vaccine at two factories that are apparently working at full capacity. The UK is presently receiving all its deliveries from these plants post the initial cruxes, that last month had the company shipping vaccines to Britain that were produced at factories located in Germany and Netherlands.
Meanwhile, AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot has reportedly blamed the EU for lagging by three months than the U.K. for finalizing the purchase agreements for vaccine, which the company jointly developed with Oxford University. Soriot also stated that the U.K. government is right to expect that all vaccine doses developed within its borders should remain there for the foreseeable future.