articles | 01 February 2021

Cyprus to receive 69,403 AstraZeneca doses in February

Cyprus will receive 69,403 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in February, according to information provided by the company, the Ministry of Health said Friday.

Tentative delivery dates have been set for February 7 and February 17, while a third batch will be delivered at the end of February.

The European Medicines Agency on Friday recommended granting a conditional marketing authorisation for the AstraZeneca coronavirus jab. The AstraZeneca vaccine is given as two injections into the arm, the second between 4 to 12 weeks after the first. 

The Anglo-Swedish firm unexpectedly announced cuts in supplies to the EU last week, citing production problems at a Belgian factory, triggering a furious response from the bloc.

AstraZeneca offered eight million more doses of its Covid-19 vaccine to the European Union to try to defuse the row over supplies, but the bloc said that was far too short of what was originally promised, an EU official told Reuters.

Under a contract agreed in August, the company should have supplied at least 80 million doses to the EU by March, the official said, and possibly even 120 million “depending on how you read the contract.”

AstraZeneca’s chief executive Pascal Soriot told newspapers on Tuesday the company had no legal requirement to deliver to the EU on a precise timetable, because it had only committed to supplying vaccines under a “best-effort” clause.

To make up for the shortfall caused by problems at a factory in Belgium, EU officials asked AstraZeneca to re-route to the bloc some of the doses it manufactures in Britain. But Soriot said at Wednesday’s meeting that AstraZeneca had contractual arrangements with Britain that prevented the company from diverting doses produced there to the EU, two EU officials said.

On Friday, European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen reiterated that AstraZeneca had binding obligations and could not to make commitments with other buyers that would trump the EU’s deal.

Britain has a contract with AstraZeneca for 100 million doses that was signed before the EU deal for at least 300 million shots.

Two officials said the EU’s contract committed it to paying 336 million euros ($406 million) to AstraZeneca, mostly to finance production of vaccines at four named factories. Two of these, run by Oxford Biomedica and Cobra Biologics, are in Britain, while the others are in Germany and Belgium.

“Part of the money went to the UK,” one of the officials said.

[Includes reporting by Reuters]

Source: Knews

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