AstraZeneca covid 19 vaccine

AstraZeneca covid 19 vaccine update: EU’s warning

AstraZeneca receives EU’s warning to fulfill contract with Europe first or expect ban on its COVID – 19 vaccine exports

 International tensions have been on the rise over the export of AstraZeneca’s COVID – 19 vaccine to the European Union ( EU ) blocs. On 20 March 2021, the EU chief threatened the company to halt the exports of its vaccine if the bloc does not receive its promised deliveries first. [5]

The EU has further stated that it can ban a planned export of the company’s COVID – 19 vaccine. The message to the company has explicitly asked the company to fulfill the contract with Europe first before it begins to deliver to other countries. Read Why EU considers blocking AstraZeneca vaccines?

This warning comes into light as the country faces a third coronavirus wave and renewed curbs on public life. Owing to this, the EU has been struggling to speed up its inoculation campaign.

The Anglo – Swedish pharma giant has delivered only around 30 % of the 90 million vaccine doses it had promised for the first quarter of 2021.

While the company has cited the production delays in the EU plants for this delay, the European officials do not believe so. The officials have expressed their anger over the company’s ability to deliver vaccines to its UK contract while falling short on the continent. Read more: EU approves single-shot vaccine developed by J&J

EU’s call for reciprocity

 On 17 March 2021, the European Commission president had threatened the company to invoke emergency powers to block the European exports of COVID – 19 vaccines. This was to ensure reciprocity with other suppliers. He also stated that the EU contract states that it will produce the vaccine for the bloc in both the EU and UK plants of the company.

 Since February 2021, the EU – based manufacturers have shipped over 41 million doses to around 33 countries. However, the blocs have not received any vaccine from the Brits despite delivering to them.

 France has also expressed its agreement with the current move of the EU. However, not all EU members support this move as countries like Belgium and Netherlands have urged caution.

 So far, Italy has only initiated the export ban once. The country had blocked the export of over 250,000 dose shipment of AstraZeneca’s vaccine to Australia. They did this on the claims of “persistent shortage” and “delays in supply” to the country.

 The fear of the company’s vaccine causing blood clots in several EU countries led to temporarily suspending this vaccine. This has, however, been clarified on 18 March 2021, when the vaccine was declared safe and effective, leading to the resumption of vaccination. Several political figures have also expressed their consent to getting vaccinated to raise the confidence in the jab.

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