AstraZeneca expects to deliver less than half of contracted second-quarter vaccines to EU.

AstraZeneca has informed the EU it expects to deliver less than half the Covid-19 vaccines it was contracted to supply between April and June, a shortfall already taken into account in Irish vaccination plans.

An EU official involved in talks with the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker told the Reuters news agency that the company told the EU in internal meetings it “would deliver less than 90 million doses in the second quarter” to the bloc.

This is less than half of the 180 million doses initially expected to be delivered to the bloc during the period according to a leaked copy of its contract with AstraZeneca.

However, the shortfall is already accounted for in the State’s expected vaccine delivery schedule, according to which 82 per cent of adults would have received at least a first shot by the end of June.

On Tuesday, the EU confirmed in internal briefings to ministers that 300 million Covid-19 vaccine doses are now expected to be delivered to the bloc between April and June. Roughly 3.3 million would go to the Republic, according to its population size, with additional doses on top if the one-shot Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine is approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Irish Government figures released on Tuesday forecast 1.2 million vaccine doses being delivered to the State by the end of March and 3.3 million doses between April and June, plus an additional 600,000 one-shot vaccines from Johnson & Johnson if the latter jab is approved.

Johnson & Johnson applied for EMA approval for its vaccine last week.

The EU this month announced it had ordered additional deliveries of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, including 75 million doses between April and June.

The European Commission said it expected AstraZeneca to increase its planned deliveries and that talks were ongoing. Vaccine production sites outside of Europe could be tapped to make up a shortfall, the European Commission indicated.

“Talks on AstraZeneca delivery schedule are ongoing. The company is refining its schedule and consolidating it on the basis of all available production sites in and outside Europe,” a spokesman for the commission said.

“The commission expects to be provided with an improved schedule proposal.”

The Irish Times

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