EU and AstraZeneca agree new deadline for vaccine deliveries

deadline for vaccine deliveries, astrazeneca vaccines
© Marc Bruxelle

The EU have dropped their court case against AstraZeneca, as a new deadline for vaccine deliveries is agreed between the two parties

The two have agreed to drop future legal action, based on a new timeline of vaccine deliveries, as of 3 September.

Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides said: “Today’s settlement agreement guarantees the delivery of the remaining 200 million COVID-19 vaccine doses by AstraZeneca to the EU.”

Bad faith timeline with AstraZeneca

In April, 2021, the EU filed litigation against the drug-maker. The drama of the European Commission voicing outrage against AstraZeneca played out slowly up until this moment, building in tension and accusation. On 18 June, the court ruled that AstraZeneca should deliver doses to strict deadlines and that the circumstances were unprecedented, but that a second legal case was necessary to establish if a contract was breached.

The EU legal action filed argued that AstraZeneca did not make their “best effort” to meet vaccine delivery timelines.

Jeffrey Pott, AstraZeneca General Counsel, said: “We are pleased with the Court’s order. AstraZeneca has fully complied with its agreement with the European Commission and we will continue to focus on the urgent task of supplying an effective vaccine.”

So how many doses will now be delivered?

According to the initial Advance Purchasing Agreement (APA), AstraZeneca was expected to deliver 80 million COVID vaccine doses by the end of March, 2021. However, the number was decreased by 60% to 31 million doses instead, due to “production issues” for the vaccine.

The issues were described by AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot as “nothing mysterious” – simply a productivity problem based on the temperamental behaviours of live cell cultures. This interview, given to an Italian news outlet, did not convince the EU. Now, the impending second case has been dismissed. A tight deadline for vaccine deliveries is in place. If AstraZeneca are late with any deliveries, the EU will get a discount that increases as lateness increases.

The new deadline means that 300 million doses will have been delivered to the EU by March, 2022.


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