AstraZeneca agrees to increase EU’s vaccine supply

EU and AstraZeneca in 'step forward' on vaccines
AstraZeneca was first approved in the UK, and only in the EU last Friday. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: The UK-Swedish drug firm AstraZeneca will now supply an additional nine million coronavirus vaccine doses by March, after days of criticism of the EU’s vaccination programme.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said it was a “step forward”.

But the 40 million doses now expected are still only about half of what had been hoped, amid continuing supply problems.

The Commission has been involved in a much-criticised row with both the United Kingdom and AstraZeneca this week.

In particular the EU was condemned over its threat to put checks on the Northern Ireland border to prevent vaccines produced in the EU from reaching the UK.

The border was one of the most difficult problems to overcome in the recently agreed Brexit deal between EU and the UK.

The European Union was angry that Britain was getting its UK-made contracted vaccine supplies from AstraZeneca while it suffered a shortfall. So the EU announced it was introducing export controls on Covid vaccines made inside the EU to try to protect its supplies.

The Brexit deal ensures there are no obstacles to trade between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Commission President Ms von der Leyen said in a tweet that AstraZeneca would “deliver 9 million additional doses in the first quarter (40 million in total) compared to last week’s offer & will start deliveries one week earlier than scheduled”.

She said this represented a 30 percent increase on the previous amount.

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