Is a vaccine war threatened? Furious at the comments of AstraZeneca’s chief, Brussels demands that the contract be made public

AstraZeneca announced last week that the initial shipment of its vaccine – once the product is approved this week – will be smaller than planned in the European Union.

The European Union has allocated 300 million euros. AstraZeneca vaccine doses and has a chance to buy another 100 million. However, the company announced that the first shipment will not be 80 million, as previously announced, but rather 31 million. Doses – 60 percent. Less.

By the way, it is said that fewer doses should be waited – about a quarter of the previously planned amount.

Contracts between states or their blocks for vaccines and their manufacturers are generally confidential. But Soriot, according to officials in Brussels, violated that principle when he said in an interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica that the treaty with the European Union did not include a specific commitment.

“Scanpix” nuotr./Pascalis Soriot

He does not agree with the explanations

“The contract with the European Union is very clear. Syriot said our commitment is” the greatest possible effort “, adding that society is lagging behind the UK.

“We said we would try to do what we could. But we were unable to abide by the contract because we are three months behind the UK,” Suriot explained, adding that the company had always known that it would be very difficult to fulfill desires.

15min photo / When will herd immunity be achieved by vaccination against the Coronavirus

15min photo / When will herd immunity be achieved by vaccination against the Coronavirus

Rejoicing at Britain’s claim that the AstraZeneca treaty with the UK will allow vaccines specially produced in that country to stay there, Brussels is not benefiting either – the conflict is escalating.

Scanpix Pictures / AstraZeneca Vaccine

Scanpix Pictures / AstraZeneca Vaccine

The European Commission has indicated that it is asking AstraZeneca to now publish a vaccine agreement with the European Union, where representatives of the community have confirmed that they do not agree with Mr. Soriot’s interpretations of some of the provisions.

The Commissioner for Health of the European Union, Stella Kyriakides, affirmed her belief in the expectations of society and its members that the vaccine manufacturer will fulfill its responsibilities.

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“We are facing a pandemic, we lose people every day. These people are not numbers,” Kyriakides said, stressing that the European Union signed a specific initial pricing agreement to buy a product that was not there at the time – in August.

The European Union is asking AstraZeneca to now announce its agreement with the European Union on vaccines, as community representatives have confirmed that they do not agree with Mr. Soriot’s interpretations of some of the provisions.

According to the Commissioner, these agreements are signed in order to ensure in advance that the company will take care of production capacity and will be able to supply as many units as possible as required on the day of approval of the product, in this case the vaccine.

In his private interview, Mr. Soriot explained that the main problem is the inability to obtain the so-called, sufficiently effective “active ingredient”, which is produced in factories in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Reuters / SCANPEX Nutr. / Pascalis Suriot

Once ready, this substance travels to Italy and Germany, where it is diluted and distributed in ampoules. Suriot confirmed that “there are no problems in the second part of the operation.”

The European Commission has stated that it does not rule out the possibility of sending inspectors to factories in Belgium to ensure that AstraZeneca does not mislead society.

S.Kyriakides: This is not a live slaughterhouse

This is due to another reason for the disagreement: Mr. Suriot’s statement, which was immediately endorsed with enthusiasm by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson himself, said that the contract with the United Kingdom stipulated that vaccines produced in that country would remain there.

It is said that EU access to doses produced in the UK will be granted “but only later when Britain has reached the required level of vaccination”.

Reuters / Photo by SCANPEX / Boris Johnson

Reuters / Photo by SCANPEX / Boris Johnson

Firstly, a contract was signed with the UK, and the UK said, of course, we would supply it first, which is fair. Suriot said, “We will help the European Union as quickly as possible.”

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However, EU officials say, unlike AstraZeneca, the block agreement with British and Swedish companies is not tied to specific factories.

S.Kyriakides: In a region’s slaughterhouse, such arguments might work, but not in terms of contracts and ex-deal pricing agreements.

Society is said to have sought to reach an agreement with companies that can produce the vaccine in large quantities, and it does not matter at all which factories can produce the number of doses. Kyriakides noted: “We reject such logic, which makes the previous logic more intelligent.

In a region’s slaughterhouse, such an argument might work, but not in terms of contracts and APAs. “

The Commissioner claimed that the contract with AstraZeneca covers four plants in Europe, two of which are located in the United Kingdom.


AFP / “Scanpix” nuotr./Stella Kyriakides

According to Kiriakides, it is reasonable to expect factories in Britain to supply the European Union countries with vaccines, although AstraZeneca maintains that each supply chain is resisting individual factories.

“There is no priority point that means vaccines made in the UK should be given to the British population first. The commissioner said that the contract covers more than one manufacturer because we will not buy vaccines from a company that has only one manufacturer.”

Checking customs documents

The conflict could escalate further, as the UK government is already claiming that factories in Oxford and Staffordshire will only be able to provide vaccines to other countries after producing 100 million. Doses for locals.

On the other hand, officials in Brussels indicate that AstraZeneca has received large wages for vaccinations, amounting to 336 million euros. euro. Part of this money was invested in developing vaccines.

Photo by Scanpix / AstraZeneca, Belgium

Photo by Scanpix / AstraZeneca, Belgium

Moreover, the European Union cannot fail to act decisively, as a society in which the vaccination campaign is not gaining momentum is under increasing pressure from its own citizens, who are facing a major crisis in the image of the bloc.

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Perhaps that is why the European Commission, which does not conceal suspicion that AstraZeneca has sold vaccine doses to the European Union to other countries, particularly the UK, is already analyzing customs documents – it is possible that the vaccine doses have left British factories in the European Union.

“Customs declarations do not lie.” “You can be sure we will find the information,” said an influential European official, and Kyriakides added, “No company should be under the illusion that we will not understand what is going on.”

MR. Liese: People in the UK are being vaccinated with a very good vaccine that is manufactured in Europe for European money.

The European Union Health Commissioner and German Health Minister Jens Spahn hinted earlier that the group may be determined to control exports of vaccines produced in the bloc countries. Such a “record of transparency” would warm the weather.

The community wants guarantees that doses of vaccines produced at AstraZeneca’s factories in Belgium and the Netherlands will not travel to the UK in the future.

It is true that there is a risk that the doses of Pfizer / BioNTech vaccines produced in Europe will no longer reach the British, something that has already been torn apart in the London press. UNHCR is working to allay these concerns.


Reuters vaccine / “Scanpix” nuotr./ “AstraZeneca”

“People in the UK are vaccinated with a very good vaccine, which is manufactured in Europe for European money,” said Peter Leese, the German European Parliament member who said the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine.

“If someone believes that European citizens should accept that this high-quality vaccine be given to the UK and that our presence in Britain considers us second-class, the only solution is a very quick suspension of Pfizer / BioNTech’s vaccine exports.

Then we would immediately find ourselves in the midst of a trade war. So let this company (AstraZeneca, Editor) and the UK think better, ”added the politician.

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