Angry and looking for answers after the announcement by AstraZeneca that it will deliver fewer doses than agreed due to “production problems”. The President of the European Commission, Úrsula von der Leyen has spoken with the director of the pharmaceutical giant to demand that he comply with his contractual obligations and give explanations as to why these changes. Brussels fears that this breaking news will seriously affect the vaccination schedule.
“Neither the Commission nor the Member States liked the news because, for us, it is very important that the vaccines are delivered. The Member States have a very important task ahead of them and they are already working on vaccinations, so they need the doses to arrive. So after hearing the news, the Commission’s reaction and the president’s call, we proceed to discuss it with the board of directors, “said Stefan de Keersmaecker, Spokesperson for the European Commission.
According to AstraZeneca, this cut in the order is due to a decrease in the production rate in one of its manufacturing centers belonging to the European supply chain. The news joins that of Pfizer, which a few days ago also announced stoppages in its manufacture. So Italy has already warned that not meeting the delivery dates will take the matter to court.
Meanwhile, the EU has updated the colors of the COVID map, adding “dark red” to areas where the virus circulates at very high levels. Now it demands that States ask travelers for tests and quarantine upon arrival.
“The European Commission has been tolerating important restrictions on free movement that we are not necessarily basing on epidemiological terms. The Commission has been very cautious in going after countries that were adopting those restrictions and now, in a way, it is late. These variants of the virus, which could be more transmissible and therefore cause more infections, could have become an opportunity for the Commission to correct past mistakes “, explains Alberto Alemanno, Professor of European Law, HEC.
The Commission has asked AstraZeneca for a detailed report showing how many doses have been produced so far and to which countries they have been shipped. Brussels announces that a mechanism will be created to transparently regulate vaccine exports.