AstraZeneca vaccine approved by EU Medicines Agency

AstraZeneca vaccinePhoto: AP Photo / Silvia Izquierdo

The EU Medicines Agency has approved the COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca. Before it can be used, the European Commission must also officially approve it. 

As expected, the EMA approved AstraZeneca’s vaccine when it met on Friday to assess the vaccine. 

It has been approved for everyone over the age of 18, and no exception has been made for the very oldest, as was earlier discussed.

There is currently great uncertainty surrounding the roll-out of the new vaccine. Prior to the approval, the EU and AstraZeneca have ended up in an open and, at times, bitter dispute over deliveries. 

Last week, the pharmaceutical giant announced that it could only deliver 31 million doses in the first quarter, not the 80 million doses the EU had expected.

A few hours before the approval, there were reports that AstraZeneca could provide an additional eight million doses.

Contract disputes

AstraZeneca and the EU disagree on the commitment degree of the agreement, which should provide the Union with up to 400 million doses.

While AstraZeneca says the agreement only obliges them to do their best, EU and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen insist that the agreement is crystal clear and binding.

On Friday, the two parties agreed to publish a skimmed version of the contract.

The company has also spoken out about its production problems at its plant in Belgium. That prompted the EU to ask the Belgian authorities to inspect the factory, which was done on Thursday.

A rough week

The EU is also upset that the pharmaceutical giant is also delivering vaccines as usual to the UK, where two of the company’s four European factories are located.

There are no points in the agreement that say anything about the EU’s vaccines only coming from factories located in the Union, the EU noted.

Brussels also believes that they should not end up behind the British in the queue, even though they signed their agreement with AstraZeneca several months before the EU.

“There was no clause that the United Kingdom or any other country should take precedence. The contract only says how much was to be delivered in each quarter,” Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said before an emergency meeting with AstraZeneca on Wednesday.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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