Only half of the planned doses of Covid-19 vaccines to the European Union for the second quarter of the current year will be supplied by AstraZeneca Plc as the company has not managed to amend a slew of production issues at its plants in Europe.
According to a report published by Bloomberg based on data on delivery projections for one EU member state, about 76 million out of a planned 180 million vaccine doses will be supplied by to the EU by the British-Swedish drugmaker. The European Commission’s methodology for distributing supplies was used to extrapolate these national figures to the EU level.
After experiencing some issues at its Covid-19 vaccine production units in the EUS, AstraZeneca had warned last month about a possible a shortfall in the vaccines. However it has also said that it would try to replenish the shortfall with supplies from other production units situated outside of the EU including from the United States.
However the report claimed, quoting a person with knowledge of the situation that those efforts of the company failed as countries have become protectionist about vaccines.
No comment on the issue was available from the company as well as from the European Commission.
“We have found 75 million doses for the second quarter that were supposed to come from the U.K., the U.S. and to some extent India,” Sweden’s vaccine coordinator, Richard Bergstrom, said in an interview with TV4. “Now we have just been told that the company won’t be able to get those doses as there are export bans from the U.S. and India, and contractual obstacles to sending doses from the U.K.”
Germany is “working every day” to increase the production of Covid-19 vaccines in Europe and Germany, said German Health Minister Jens Spahn. That includes the AstraZeneca vaccine as well as those from Johnson & Johnson which was approved earlier this week, the minister said in an interview to broadcaster ARD.
The issues for AstraZeneca were compounded by the suspension of the use of some or all of their Covid-19 shots by ma number of European countries which included Denmark, Italy and Norway who suspended the use of the vaccine last Thursday. There have been reports of alleged blood clots in people who were given the vaccine.
In the second quarter, a total of almost 400 million vaccine doses is expected to be received by the EU with the vaccines from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE accounting for the majority of them. It also expects to get delivery of another 640 million doses of the vaccines in the third quarter.
The European Commission has set a target of inoculating 70 per cent of the adults of the bloc by the end of September.
Despite the suspension of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine, experts at the EU’s drugs regulator has said the potential benefits from the AstraZeneca vaccine short was still more than the perceived risks and it currently had no indications to show that the vaccine had caused the health problems.
(Adapted from AlJazeera.com)