In an interview given by the CEO of AstraZeneca Pascal Soriot (26 January) to La Repubblica an Italian newspaper, the CEO said that because the UK had placed its order three months before the EU’s order was placed, there would be delays to the EU’s delivery, mainly linked to production plants in the Netherlands and Belgium. He said that the problems should be ironed out over time.
In a press conference, EU Commissioner for Health, Stella Kiryakides updated journalists on the situation. She clarified that the EU had signed an advanced purchase agreement for a product which at the time did not exist, and which still today is not yet authorized, precisely to ensure that the company builds the manufacturing capacity to produce the vaccine early. Kyriakides rejected the logic of first come first served, saying there was no priority clause and that the agreement did not discern between UK, or EU located production plants.
In its vaccine strategy (17 June) the EU set out the actions that it would take to support swift vaccine development and production. A large part of this strategy was agreeing advance purchase agreements (APAs) to support companies in return for the right to buy a specified number of vaccine doses in a given timeframe and at a given price. The EU investment amounted to 336 million euros, to purchase up to 400 million doses.
The scale of the problem emerged on Friday (22 January) when AstraZeneca reported a massive shortfall in what was scheduled, by as much as three quarters.
Kyriakides called on AstraZeneca to fully engage with the EU to rebuild trust, to provide complete information and to live up to his contractual, societal and moral obligations.
Kyriakides reported via twitter, that today’s meeting had had a more positive tone.
Constructive tone in our exchange with @AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot, in our Vaccine Steering Board, on deliveries of their vaccine following approval. The EU remains united & firm Contractual obligations must be met, vaccines must be delivered to EU citizens.
— Stella Kyriakides (@SKyriakidesEU) January 27, 2021