According to Hong Kong media, after the US pharmaceutical company Pfizer stated that it would reduce the EU’s new crown vaccine supply, the British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca recently also stated that due to factory capacity problems, the first batch of vaccines supplied to the EU would be reduced by 60%. It caused dissatisfaction in many countries, and Italy even threatened lawsuits.
The European Union is expected to approve the emergency use of the new crown vaccine jointly developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University on the 29th of this month. However, an AstraZeneca spokesperson said that due to the reduced production capacity of a factory in Belgium, the initial vaccine production would be lower than expected.
A source pointed out that AstraZeneca was originally scheduled to supply 80 million doses of vaccine to the EU by the end of March. It was expected to ship on February 15, but now it has dropped by 60% to only 31 million doses.
The EU has previously ordered 300 million doses of vaccine and has the right to order an additional 100 million doses. Italy originally planned to obtain 8 million doses of Oxford vaccine in the first quarter of this year, but the current delivery volume is expected to be only 3.4 million doses.
Italian Prime Minister Conte criticized this approach as unacceptable, thinking that delaying the supply of vaccines is tantamount to violating the agreement and causing serious damage to Italy and other countries. He also threatened to take legal action.
Austria was originally expected to receive 2 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine in the first season, but only 600,000 doses are currently available. Austrian Health Minister Anschöbel called this “very very bad news” and “completely unacceptable”. Irish Prime Minister Martin said: “This will disrupt our plan.”
The vaccination schedules of European countries have been frustrated by Pfizer’s supply cuts. In a statement on the 15th, Pfizer stated that vaccine shipments were affected due to the company’s adjustment of production processes to increase vaccine production.
Several EU countries stated that this situation was “unacceptable” and warned that it “reduces the credibility of the vaccination plan”. Under pressure from the European Union, Pfizer finally issued a statement again saying that it would resume the normal supply of vaccines as originally planned from the 25th.