French Minister: EU unlikely to extend vaccine contract with AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccinePhoto: AP Photo / Matthias Schrader
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The EU is in negotiations with Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna on new vaccine contracts, while a new AstraZeneca order is unlikely, according to a French minister.

“We have not started negotiations with Johnson & Johnson or AstraZeneca, but we are in the process of negotiations with Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna,” France’s Minister of Industry Agnes Pannier-Runacher told AFP.

She describes it as highly unlikely that more AstraZeneca doses will be ordered but emphasizes that no final decision has been made.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday that the EU is negotiating a major contract with Pfizer that will extend the cooperation until 2023. It involves the purchase of 1.8 billion vaccine doses.

“We must focus on technologies that have shown what they are worth,” she said.

The vaccines of Pfizer and Moderna are made with so-called mRNA technology.

Agreements with six manufacturers

The EU has so far entered into agreements with six vaccine manufacturers. In addition to the four mentioned above, agreements have also been made with CureVac and Sanofi/GSK, which have not yet had their vaccines approved.

Norway is part of the EU vaccine system and therefore relates to the decisions made about the vaccines by the EU Commission and the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Issues

The AstraZeneca vaccine and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, called the Janssen vaccine, are made with the same type of technology.

Both vaccines are being examined after severe but rare thrombotic events have been reported in vaccinated people.

The Janssen vaccine has not yet been used in the EU as the company has put the rollout on hold as a result of the ongoing investigations.

A source in the Italian Ministry of Health has informed the newspaper La Stampa that the delivery contract for the AstraZeneca vaccine and the Janssen vaccine would be extended.

Denmark has decided to drop the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine completely.

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

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