AstraZeneca reaches settlement with EU on COVID-19 vaccine delivery

Europe Materials 3 September 2021 17:29 (UTC +04:00)

AstraZeneca and the European Commission have reached a settlement on the delivery of 200 million pending COVID-19 vaccine doses by the drugmaker, ending a row about shortages that had weighed on the company and the region's vaccination campaign, Trend reports with reference to Reuters.

The dispute plunged the European Union into crisis earlier this year as states, under pressure to speed up vaccinations, scrambled for shots. It also caused a public relations crisis for AstraZeneca, which is led by Frenchman Pascal Soriot.

Having reduced its initial reliance on the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker, Brussels said parts of the volumes committed under the deal would be transferred outside the EU to ease global vaccine inequality. The bloc's vaccine supplies now come mainly from Pfizer/BioNTech.

As part of Friday's settlement, AstraZeneca has committed to deliver 60 million doses of its vaccine, Vaxzevria, by the end of the third quarter this year, 75 million by the end of the fourth quarter and 65 million by the end of the first quarter of 2022.

When including deliveries already made, that schedule maps out the honouring of a 300 million dose bulk purchasing contract struck about a year ago between the company and the EU, after months of conflict over delays.

The European Commission launched legal action against AstraZeneca in April for not respecting that contract and for not having a "reliable" plan to ensure timely deliveries.

The EU's executive body said that under the new agreement, member states would be provided with regular delivery schedules and if there were any delayed doses, capped rebates would be applied. EU members with low inoculation rates would be prioritised, it added.