EU hints it might not order AstraZeneca jab again

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Thierry Breton, the EU’s internal markets commissioner, said Sunday that “nothing is decided” concerning the bloc’s plans to open any further contracts with AstraZeneca.

“We’re pragmatic. My priority, as far as the vaccines are concerned, is to ensure that the firms we have contracts with deliver them punctually,” Breton told France’s BFMTV television.

EU officials have been highly critical of AstraZeneca, which has faced significant delays in delivering the first batches of its vaccine to the bloc. Brussels had initially ordered 120 million doses of the jab for the 27 member states in the first quarter.

But the Anglo-Swedish drug maker “only delivered 30 million, thus creating the problems that everyone has seen,” Breton said. Only 70 million of the 180 million doses ordered by the EU will be delivered in the second quarter, he added.

The EU currently has a portfolio of 2.3 billion doses from several companies, and the bloc is still negotiating more contracts — including with German biotech firm BioNTech and US pharma giant Pfizer.

“Nothing is decided. Talks are still ongoing,” Breton said, regarding the AstraZeneca contract. He also stressed that any decision about ordering more vaccines from the company would not depend on “epidemiological or medical reasons.”

Read more via DW

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