Brussels accepts a reduction of around 50% of AstraZeneca vaccines for the first quarter of the year and ends a war that lasted ten days. The latest offer, accepted by the European Commission, consists of going from 31 million doses, which on Friday, January 22, the pharmaceutical company said it had available, to 40 million for the first quarter of the year, and bringing forward the delivery of the vaccinations What neither AstraZeneca nor the European Commission have explained is from which plants this extra will come, whether from within the EU or from outside, including the United Kingdom.
The figure initially predicted by the European Commission, in any case, was at least 80 million doses in the first quarter of 2021.
“Step forward with vaccines”, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, tweeted this Sunday afternoon: “AstraZeneca will deliver 9 million additional doses in the first quarter (40 million in total) compared to the offer last week and will begin deliveries a week ahead of schedule. The company will also expand its manufacturing capacity in Europe. “
With this agreement, the European Commission wants to end the vaccine war with AstraZeneca, which led to a diplomatic conflict with the United Kingdom on Friday night, when Brussels announced that it would establish export controls at the border of the Irish to prevent a leak of vaccines from the EU to the United Kingdom through that invisible border crossing under the Good Friday Agreements, as recognized by the Brexit agreement.
But that the Community Executive wants to turn the page does not mean that the European Parliament is going to be easy to convince, very critical of the Commission’s strategy and opacity with the contracts. “Only full transparency in contracts with pharmaceutical companies guarantees the responsibility of both parties and the trust of the public,” said the president of the European Socialists in the European Parliament, Iratxe García: “At least some members of the European Parliament should agree to the information on doses and terms, under confidentiality “.
“The fact that the European Commission calls this ‘publish the contract with AstraZeneca’ is not a new joke, but it goes directly to the category of disrespect,” said IU spokeswoman in the European Parliament, Sira Rego: ” From the Left in the European Parliament we are going to ask for explanations and we demand that all contracts be published without censorship. ” The co-president of The Left, Manon Aubry, has insisted: “We demand transparency in all previous contracts and we demand that vaccines become global commons.”
The president of the Liberals in the European Parliament, Dacian Ciolos (Renew Europe), has called Von der Leyen to account this Sunday: “The European Commission is responsible to the European Parliament. I have invited Von der Leyen to come to Parliament to discuss the strategy on vaccines from the EU and also to understand the events of Friday Friday. Renew Europe calls for a plenary debate and an EP resolution on vaccines. “
Von der Leyen, a member of the European PP, will find it difficult to evade accountability in the face of pressure from socialists, liberals, the Left and the Greens of the European Parliament,
The horizon is to authorize more vaccines and, also, to speed up the vaccination rates of the countries. The European Commission set the goal of having 70% of the adult population vaccinated in summer, something that seems unfeasible unless current problems are quickly resolved.
The European Commission has 2.3 billion potential doses after sealing agreements with six different companies: BioNTech-Pfizer (up to 600 million doses); AstraZeneca (up to 400 million doses); Sanofi-GSK (up to 300 million doses); Johnson and Johnson (up to 400 million doses); CureVac (up to 405 million doses); Modern (up to 160 million doses).
In addition, the European Commission has held discussions with Novavax and Valneva on the acquisition of up to 200 and 60 million doses, respectively. The Community Executive has authorized and commercialized the vaccines produced by three of these companies: BioNTech-Pfizer (December 21, 2020), Moderna (January 6, 2021) and AstraZeneca (January 29).
In other words, there are still vaccines to be authorized and negotiations to be concluded with laboratories that, as in the case of Novavax, are being examined in the United Kingdom to be used.