Healthcare news

AstraZeneca 'pulls out of talks with EU about vaccine delivery'

Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine is awaiting approval from the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which is expected on January 29. Picture by Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Raf Cassert, Associated Press Reporter

AstraZeneca has pulled out of a meeting with the European Union to discuss delayed vaccine commitments to the bloc, an EU official said.

The official said the EU would "insist on them" coming back to the negotiating table to explain the delay in deliveries once the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine gets approved for use by the European Medicines Agency.

Today's talks with the EU Commission and member states were slated to be the third in as many days, as an ever angrier EU is demanding an explanation about the delays.

AstraZeneca said in a statement that it "understands and shares in the frustration that initial supply volumes of our vaccine delivered to the European Union will be lower than forecast".

It did not address the issue of the planned meeting with the EU's steering board.

On Monday January 25, the EU threatened to impose tight export controls within days on Covid-19 vaccines made in the bloc.

The EU, which has 450 million citizens and the economic and political clout of the world's biggest trading bloc, is lagging badly behind countries such as Israel and the UK in rolling out coronavirus vaccine shots for its healthcare workers and most vulnerable people.

That is despite having more than 400,000 confirmed virus deaths since the pandemic began.

The shortfall of planned deliveries of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is expected to get medical approval in the bloc on Friday January 29, combined with problems in the distribution of Pfizer-BioNTech shots, is putting EU nations under pressure.

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