AstraZeneca delivery to EU countries is lower at the beginning

The scope of delivery of the AstraZeneca corona vaccination, which is expected to be approved in the EU soon, will initially be lower than expected. AstraZeneca Austria confirmed this in a written statement on Friday evening. For Austria, according to APA information, this could mean that only 600,000 vaccine doses will be delivered in the first quarter instead of the announced two million vaccine doses. There was initially no official confirmation of these figures.

22.01.2021 a 22:50

“While there is no planned delay in the start of delivery of our vaccine – should we get approval in Europe – the initial volumes will be lower than originally expected due to reduced vaccine yields at a production site within our European supply chain,” the APA said transmitted statement of the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company. “We will deliver tens of millions of cans to the European Union in February and March while we continue to ramp up production,” the company said.

According to information from the APA, the federal vaccination coordinator and those of the federal states were informed in a video conference on Friday about the reduction in the first deliveries. The reason may be that the EU’s decision to approve the AstraZeneca vaccine is taking so long, they said. This is likely to shake the government’s vaccination plan. With the current supply agreements, including the approval of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, all over 65-year-olds could have been vaccinated by the end of March.

The Ministry of Health initially said that the now rumored reductions in the planned delivery quantities for the first quarter by AstraZeneca were “completely unacceptable”. “Promised delivery quantities must be adhered to. At the same time, this possible development shows how important it was that Austria purchased large additional quantities of vaccines from BioNtech / Pfizer as part of the EU procurement program in the past few weeks.” Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens) said at a press conference on Friday morning that delivery bottlenecks are “quite manageable”.

According to EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides, the company announced the delivery problems on Friday in the steering committee for the EU vaccination strategy. The EU Commission and member states have expressed deep dissatisfaction that less vaccine should be delivered in the first quarter than planned, Kyriakides said in the evening, according to the dpa news agency. It was insisted that there was a precise delivery schedule on the basis of which Member States could plan their vaccination programs. The EU Commission will continue to push for more reliability in deliveries and an accelerated distribution of the cans.

Carinthia’s governor Peter Kaiser (SPÖ) called on both the EU and the manufacturers in a broadcast on Friday to “adhere to the agreements”. It was about people’s health, it said in the broadcast: “Any further delay would be irresponsible and unreasonable for those willing to vaccinate.” Carinthia has done its homework, is “well prepared” and is only waiting for the delivery of larger quantities of vaccines. In addition, according to initial surveys, the Carinthians show “an above-average willingness to be vaccinated,” said Kaiser. “Any further delay would seriously shake people’s confidence.”

NEOS health spokesman Gerald Loacker also reacted to these media reports with alarm. “This is where the fatal errors of the turquoise-green vaccination plan become clear. The federal government has relied too much on the fact that the AstraZeneca vaccine will be approved early and that it will be delivered earlier.” Loacker described the fact that Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) and Health Minister Anschober are now blaming the European authorities as “absurd”. He sees it as “desperate attempts to divert attention from one’s own failure. The federal government must now urgently revise the vaccination plan and implement it consistently.”

Loacker again called for an immediate national vaccination crisis summit. “Now, at the latest, it should also become clear to the Chancellor and the Minister of Health that they have not done everything right. Now everyone involved has to come to one table, the government has to completely redesign the vaccination strategy and ensure the supply of vaccines.”

The vaccine developed by the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca together with the University of Oxford is currently still in the approval process. The independent European Medicines Agency EMA wants to announce its decision by the end of the month at the latest, it was said last. Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) and other European heads of government have recently pushed for a faster decision. According to a study published on January 9, the protective effect of a maximum of 70 percent could be significantly less than that of the two vaccines that have already been approved, which are over 90 percent.

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