British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca will deliver 9 million more doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to the European Union in the first quarter of this year, the European Commission’s chief, Ursula von der Leyen announced on Sunday evening.
“AstraZeneca will deliver 9 million additional doses in the first quarter (40 million in total) compared to last week’s offer and will start deliveries one week earlier than scheduled,” reads a Twitter post by the Commission president, who added that the company “will also expand its manufacturing capacity in Europe.”
Earlier in the day, von der Leyen had held a virtual meeting with the CEOs of vaccine producers, during which, she stressed the need to beware of the new Coronavirus variants. The meeting, held the context of the bloc’s Vaccines Strategy included BionNTech/Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Curevac and Sanofi, with which, the EU has signed advance purchase agreements (APA) for vaccines against the virus.
Step forward on vaccines.@AstraZeneca will 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.
The company will also expand its manufacturing capacity in Europe.
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) January 31, 2021
The bloc’s health chief, Stella Kyriakides and the Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton also took part in the meeting, which followed a standoff between the EU Executive and AstraZeneca over the company’s obligations foreseen in the contract.
AstraZeneca’s announcement earlier in January that initial volumes will be lower than originally anticipated due to reduced yields at a manufacturing site within their European supply chain, sparked a heated debate over the provisions of the APA with the EU and eventually prompted Brussels to impose temporary controls on the export of coronavirus vaccines made inside the bloc.
On Friday, Europe’s medicines watchdog, namely EMA, greenlighted the jab developed by AstraZeneca/Oxford University for a conditional marketing authorisation in the EU, for all age groups over 18 years old.