The company AstraZeneca under contract with Brussels is obliged to deliver to the EU a vaccine against coronavirus, produced in the UK to make up for the shortfall in production in Belgium.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said this in an interview with the German newspaper Deutschlandfunk.
“The company itself indicated to us in the contract four production sites, two of which are in the UK. It was her choice. They are the ones planning the production. Definitely, two production facilities from the UK are included. How they manage to do that is ultimately a challenge for the company,” said von der Leyen.
The European Commission paid 336 million euros for 400 million doses, the first 100 million of which were to be delivered in the first quarter of this year.
The company said last week that only 25 percent of its planned deliveries would be possible because of production problems at a Belgian plant and that it could not make up the shortfall by importing from Britain.
“I urge the company to meet its delivery obligations to us. I understand that they have initial difficulties. We want transparency as to why this is the case. Maybe we can help too. We’d like to know why you can’t fulfill what we stipulated in the contract today, which is that we’re investing millions in you and you’re already pre-producing products to warehouses. Where are those doses? That’s the first question we have,” von der Leyen said.
The European Commission, in agreement with AstraZeneca, published a contract with the company to buy the coronavirus vaccine, which the parties signed last August 27, to provide transparency in the dispute amid vaccine shortages.
The European Commission also initiated controls on the export of vaccine doses produced in the EU.
Note that AstraZeneca has not yet received approval for use in the EU, but a decision by the European Medical Agency is expected soon.