Ursula von der Leyen: EU vaccine programme is ‘on track’
Back in April, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved the use of the single-dost shot of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine. Spain’s regional health authorities began using the shot for people aged 70 to 79, two days after the jab was approved.
But now, the Commission has revealed the pharmaceutical company was still due to meet its contract for total doses by the end of this year.
An EU spokesperson said: “Member states were informed of certain delays when it comes to the delivery of Johnson and Johnson shots, and they expressed their concern.
“The way we understand it is that this is a temporary reduction in deliveries and we can expect to see an increase in deliveries of doses soon.
“We’re still working on the basis of the hypothesis that we’re going to have the number of doses agreed on the whole, the second and third quarters.”
EU facing another Covid vaccine delay
EU facing another Covid vaccine delay
According to the Guardian, the company was contracted to deliver 55 million shots of its vaccine to the EU by the end of June.
This was roughly a quarter of the 400 million doses of four different vaccines the bloc is scheduled to receive in the second quarter.
This comes after months of a bitter dispute over vaccine delivery delays between the EU and the AstraZeneca jab – which was developed with Oxford University.
Last month, the Commission started a legal case over alleged breaches of an advance purchase agreement with the pharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca.
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson
AstraZeneca – who developed the vaccine with Oxford University – were only able to deliver about a quarter of the promised jabs due to production problems at a plant in Belgium.
In response, AstraZeneca said in a statement: “Following an unprecedented year of scientific discovery, very complex negotiations, and manufacturing challenges, our company is about to deliver almost 50m doses to European countries by the end of April, in line with our forecast.
“AstraZeneca has fully complied with the advance purchase agreement with the European Commission and will strongly defend itself in court. We believe any litigation is without merit and we welcome this opportunity to resolve this dispute as soon as possible.”
Several EU member states halted use of the vaccine earlier this year amid fears it increases the risk of blood clots, despite the EU’s drug regulator approving the jab.
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Coronavirus cases across the world
Germany, France, Italy and Spain as well as Portugal, Slovenia, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Romania, Latvia, Austria, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Bulgaria all halted the inoculation of the jab.
Iceland and Norway, who are both not members of the EU but have joined the European Economic Area (EEA), also stopped the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Back in March, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen threatened to ban the AstraZeneca vaccine from being exported from the continent.
In April, the EU Commission decided not to renew Covidvaccine contracts next year with Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca.
EU decided not to renew AstraZeneca contract
Italian daily La Stampa reported: “The European Commission, in agreement with the leaders of many (EU) countries, has decided that the contracts with the companies that produce (viral vector) vaccines that are valid for the current year will not be renewed at their expiry.”
The president of the European Commission said the EU was in talks with Pfizer and BionTech for a new contract for 1.8 billion doses.
Today, the UK Government formally approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for use across the country.
The UK government has ordered 20 million doses of the vaccine.
Coronavirus cases in the UK
However, the original order of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was 30 million doses, meaning 10 million have been cut.
There has been no clear reason as to why, however, Britain’s vaccine rollout has been progressing at speed, and the company also faces issues with its supplies to Europe and reports of rare blood clots.
The EU has been widely criticised for its glacial rollout of the four coronavirus vaccines approved by the EMA.
According to latest figures, the uptake of at least one vaccine dose among adults aged 18 and up was around 41.7 percent.
The uptake of at least one vaccine dose among persons aged 80 years and above was around 80.3 percent.
In the UK, more than 39,000,000 people have received their first dose of a vaccine, while more than 24,892,416 have received both jabs.