AstraZeneca will slightly increase deliveries of its Covid-19 vaccine. The British laboratory, which has suffered the wrath of European leaders for several days due to significant delays in the distribution of vaccine orders, will finally increase deliveries of its vaccine by 30% in the first quarter.
AstraZeneca announced on Tuesday January 26 that it would deliver only a quarter of the doses of Covid-19 vaccines ordered by Europe, due to production difficulties. The company should “provide 9 million additional doses” – or 40 million doses in total for the first quarter of 2021. A very small victory for the European Union, which had initially ordered 300 million doses!
Suspicion of favoritism
EU leaders have been particularly tough on the lab in recent days, accusing it of favoring the UK. While the 27 are struggling to obtain the doses ordered from the British-Swedish laboratory, Great Britain is not experiencing a shortage.
Every day, 500,000 Britons are vaccinated and AstraZeneca has not announced a delay in the delivery of the 100 million doses ordered by London. AstraZeneca defends itself against any favoritism, saying it is the will of Boris Johnson’s government for production from the UK supply chain to go “first in the UK”.
Launch of an investigation
The European Commission has therefore raised the tone, and launched an investigation to shed light on what appears to be preferential treatment for the United Kingdom. The pressure exerted by Brussels seems to have paid off: in addition to the 9 million additional doses promised by AstraZeneca, the laboratory has pledged to expand its production capacities in Europe and to start deliveries a week earlier than planned.
Despite everything, the months of February and March will remain “a difficult phase” in terms of vaccine supply, because AstraZeneca is not the only producer to have announced delays. The Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna laboratories also plan to deliver fewer vaccines than planned for 2021. Yet the European Union maintains for the moment its objective of vaccinating 70% of adults by “the end of summer”.