Vaccines, AstraZeneca-EU brawl: ‘No obligation towards Europe. UK has priority ‘. Confirmation from London. Brussels: ‘Publish the contract’

Gives contract “there is not no obligation towards’EU“, But only the commitment to do“ our best ”. And at this moment not even a part of the supplies of Covid vaccines intended for UK it can be diverted to the countries of the Union, because “the agreement with governo Johnson It has been reached three months before“. This version was also confirmed by sources from Downing Street al Telegraph. After controversy for the announcement of a cut at the first deliveries scheduled for February, speak Pascal Soriot, CEO of the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. His version, however, is contested by Brussels, which at this point – they explain to theAnsa EU sources – asks release from the clause of secrecy to publish the contract. In particular, the sources clarify that it is not foreseen that the production of doses for the EU should be limited to factory in Belgium, but it can happen also in the UK. And it is now open confrontation between Brussels and AstraZeneca on the company’s participation in the meeting of executive committee on EU vaccines, scheduled for 18.30. The EU had announced the company’s participation, but sources inside AstraZeneca had denied the presence. This provoked the reaction of the EU that a few minutes later “insisted that AstraZeneca attend the meeting to provide all the requested explanations”, but the spokesperson for the Commission Dana Spinant he then clarified that “AstraZeneca has informed us this morning that its participation is not confirmed and that it will not be there”, adding that the situation is evolving and therefore cannot provide a definitive answer on the meeting. But in turn the company has denied the Commission’s words, according to a note cited by Telegraph: “We will meet with the EU within the day,” said a spokesman.

Soriot, interviewed by Republic, rejects the suspicions advanced in recent days by European Commission, that he fears some doses destined for EU countries have ended up elsewhere and for this reason he wants to establish a transfer register vaccines outside the Union. “We certainly do not divert Europeans’ vaccines to other countries. Would be illogical and counterproductive on our part “, says the 61-year-old Frenchman, who defends himself for the delays:” The problems in the EU have been A case and they are certainly not intentional ”. AstraZeneca, promises its CEO, aims to “deliver to the EU 17 million doses by the end of February. Of these, 2,5 about in Italy “. First, however, it is missing authorization by the EMA.

“We too we are disappointed: we would like to be able to produce more. In February we will deliver a satisfactory quantity to Europe, similar to the other producers. We are working 24 hours a day, seven days a week to solve problems “, says Soriot, explaining that” the production of our vaccine consists of two stages: one is there creation of the active ingredient in two factories in Belgium e Netherlands, the other is drug yield, in two centers in Germany and Italy, ad Anagni, where you are doing an amazing job. Difficulties arise in the first phase. Some sites generate more ‘harvest’, others less, as unfortunately happened in Europe. These malfunctions occur when production is increased a hundreds of millions of doses of a new vaccine. We have two months late, but we will solve these problems ”.

Even in the production of doses intended for UK there were hitches: “We had some – explains Soriot – but the supply contract with the British government was signed three months before than that with the EU. We had time to prepare“. Oxford, in fact, “was already in close contact with the British government: they got organized in time and got off to a flying start ”. Regarding the suspicion that the delay is due to the sale of the vaccine to other countries, “this accusation is senseless – says Soriot – because, I repeat, we are not making a profit on the coronavirus vaccine”. As for the commitment with the EU to produce 300 million doses, states precisely that “there is no obligation towards the EU. In the contract with the Europeans it is clearly written: ‘Best effort‘. That is: ‘We will do our best’. Last August, the EU wanted to have the same production capacity as the UK, despite the contract signed three months after London. We at AstraZeneca responded: ‘Ok, we will do our best. But we cannot commit contractually because we have three months late than the UK ‘. And so it was ”.

When the Johnson government closed the contract, the AstraZeneca CEO explains, “the British executive said that the UK ‘would had priority‘on the doses produced in your country. Ed that’s it. In the agreement we signed with the EU, however, it says that the European supply could also come from the United Kingdom, but it is alone a secondary possibility“. So the European Union cannot currently count on help with its supplies: “As soon as we have a sufficient number of vaccinations in the UK, then we can use the British establishments also for supply to the European Union. But the contract with the British was signed before, the Johnson government asked us’ to restock first us‘and this is understandable ”. “After all, the vaccine was developed in collaboration between the British government, Oxford and AstraZeneca – concludes Soriot – But as soon as there is the possibility, we will also help the EU”.

A version also confirmed by sources of Downing Street cited by Telegraph explaining that AstraZeneca’s three British manufacturing plants will be able to supply other countries as well, but not before delivery to the United Kingdom of the 100 million doses provided. “This is a trade deal. Those doses are for us and they won’t go anywhere until 100 million doses are delivered to the UK, ”the source said.

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