British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca warned on Friday that shipments of its coronavirus vaccine to Europe will be “less than originally thought” due to decreased production at one manufacturing site.
Developed with Oxford University in England, the engraving is already being rolled out across the UK, but the European Union has not yet approved its use. A decision is expected to be made by January 29th.
AstraZeneca said in a statement that if EU approval is granted, “initial quantities will be lower than expected”, although the launch would not be delayed.
The company accused “reduced yields at a manufacturing site within our European supply chain” without giving details.
She said she would definitely supply the EU with “millions of cans” while ramping up production in February and March.
Stefan De Keersmaecker, spokesman for the European Commission on Health, told AFP that AstraZeneca had confirmed the change in its delivery schedule at a meeting on Friday and added, “We are working to find out more.”
Stella Kyriakides, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said both the Commission and Member States had expressed “deep dissatisfaction” with the move at a Vaccines Committee meeting.
“We have insisted on a precise delivery schedule that Member States should use to plan their vaccination programs, provided that conditional marketing authorization is granted,” she said on Twitter.
“The @ EU_Commission will continue to insist with @AstraZeneca on measures to improve the predictability and stability of deliveries and to speed up the distribution of cans.”
It was not clear how many cans AstraZeneca was originally supposed to give to the 27 country bloc.
The company said last year it had agreed with the European Commission to deliver up to 400 million cans.
The EU has announced that it has signed contracts for more than two billion doses, more than enough for its total population of 450 million, provided all vaccines are approved.
Oxford-AstraZeneca’s vaccine is considered key to the global vaccination effort because it is cheaper to manufacture and can be stored at refrigerator temperature.
So far, the EU has approved vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
While the coronavirus vaccines were being developed and approved at record speed, shipments of the first batches were lower than many EU members had hoped.
Pfizer has announced delays in delivering its vaccine in the next few weeks due to work at its main processing facility in Belgium.
So far, EU countries have given citizens more than five million doses. The goal is to vaccinate 70 percent of adults by the end of August.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)