Another polemic around AstraZeneca vaccine… According to our peers from L’Express, a 29-million-dose vaccine stock – manufactured by a subcontractor of the Swedish-British laboratory in Anagni, Italy – has been found this March 23 after the vaccination task force has been required to inspect it – as demanded by European Commissioner Thierry Breton.
Doses which destination is now known. And for good reason: this Wednesday March 24, the drugmaker announced they were mostly to be shipped to the European Union, the remaining half was to be delivered as part of the Covax framework, helping the poorest countries that cannot get vaccine, to be supplied and fight against the pandemic. Among half the stock, France is to get 2 million doses, as State Secretary for European Affairs Clément Beaune stated this Sunday March 28 on France 2 TV news.
Yet, a week ago, the destination seemed to stir up a hornet’s nest depending whether they were to be shipped to the European Union or not. And for good reason: a “war” between AstraZeneca and Brussels sparked a few months ago after AstraZeneca has been accused by the European Commission of breaking the contract about EU dose deliveries, as the laboratory announced they were not going to be able to deliver the number of doses secured. All in all, in the first quarter, 30 million doses have been delivered in the 120 million yet written on the paper, that Brussels had to publish to prove its good faith and show the laboratory’s lies.
Still according to our peers, Brussels even suspected AstraZeneca of keeping doses manufactured in Europe for the British people, after a factory in the Netherlands – belonging to pharmaceutical group Halix (which doses found in Italy are from) – has been pointed out for its activity. And for good reason: the factory manufactured between 4 and 5 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, as it was not even approved yet by the European Medicines Agency to produce the vaccine in Europe, and for doses to be marketed in the EU.
According to Brussels, the Swedish-British group is taking their time to ask for approval for manufacturing in the EU, for doses to be given to EU members, to make sure vaccine doses are indeed manufactured in the Netherlands and packed in Italy, and delivered to the UK, and only to the UK. Vaccines the EU – is suspicions are proven – expects to requisition for their own goods, to cover the shortfall as for delivery delays announced by the laboratories. “If AstraZeneca vaccine doses found in Italy were to be exported, the question of a ban will be raised”, the Elysée stated.
Note this Wednesday March 24, the EU announced that vaccine made in the EU and to be exported will be controlled more for AstraZeneca has to comply with their commitments. And a few days ago, took action by requisitioning a stock of 250,000 doses of vaccine made in Italy initially to be delivered to Australia.