After a second pharmaceutical company, Astra Zeneca, announced problems with vaccine delivery, the EU wants to increase pressure on manufacturers to ensure punctual delivery. “We expect that the contracts that the pharmaceutical industry has signed will be kept,” said Council President Charles Michel on Sunday. Above all, one must be clear about the reason for the delay. If necessary, the EU will use legal means, he said. The EU Commission also says that the legal options are being examined. Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides wanted to remind Astra Zeneca by letter on Sunday that the company had contractually agreed to start production before the vaccine was released.
Astra Zeneca announced on Friday that it would initially deliver fewer corona vaccines in the EU than planned. The reason is lower production at one location in the EU supply chain. Astra Zeneca’s vaccine is not yet approved in the EU, but it is expected to be released next Friday. The Commission secured 400 million doses of vaccine from Astra Zeneca on behalf of the Member States in August. According to unconfirmed reports, the delivery volume is reduced by about 60 percent.
Before Astra Zeneca, the German-American manufacturer Biontech-Pfizer had already announced delivery problems. Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte criticized the companies heavily. “These slowdowns in deliveries are serious breaches of contract that are causing enormous damage in Italy and other European countries,” he wrote on Facebook on Saturday. He also announced legal action. Since the purchase contracts with the companies are based on the EU quotas, but ultimately concluded by the capitals themselves, they can also take action against the suppliers themselves.
According to Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU), Germany is also affected by the reduced delivery volume. “If the Astra Zeneca vaccine is approved at the end of January, we expect at least three million vaccine doses for Germany as early as February,” said Spahn Picture on sunday. However, he admitted that this was less than expected. Spahn did not comment on any legal action taken against the company.
The reduced deliveries are causing delays in vaccination plans in the federal states. There are no new first vaccinations in North Rhine-Westphalia this week. In Bavaria, fixed vaccination appointments were canceled at short notice in individual districts and postponed by up to two months.
As Spahn further announced, the federal government is now also relying on drugs that can cause a milder course of the Covid infection. The Ministry of Health bought 200,000 cans of the corresponding preparations for 400 million euros. According to the ministry, these are contingents of two different drugs that contain antibodies. “According to the available studies, the medication could possibly help to limit the amount of virus in the body and thus have a positive influence on the course of the disease,” said a ministry spokeswoman. Former US President Donald Trump is said to have been treated with such a preparation when he contracted the corona virus.