AstraZeneca Slows Delivery of Vaccines To The EU Due To Production Problems

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AstraZeneca Slows Delivery of Vaccines To The EU Due To Production Problems.

AstraZeneca has said it will have to reduce planned deliveries to the European Union by 60%. In the first quarter of 2021, 31 million doses will reach European countries, according to EU sources. The company will now not be able to undertake the agreed vaccine distribution due to production problems at a factory of its partner Novasep in Belgium.

AstraZeneca insisted there was no “scheduled delay” to the start of shipments of its vaccines, but said “initial volumes” would “be lower than originally anticipated due to reduced yields at a manufacturing site within our European supply chain”. “We will be supplying tens of millions of doses in February and March to the EU, as we continue to ramp up production volumes,” the company said, adding that the change in expected volumes did not affect the UK.

The vast majority of the production of the three most widely approved COVID vaccines, including the AstraZeneca drug, has so far been hoovered up by developed nations.

Morocco received 2 million doses of Astrazeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, becoming the first African country to get a large enough shipment to roll out a nationwide immunisation programme. The consignment arrived on a Royal Air Maroc flight from India, which began exporting the vaccine, developed in conjunction with Oxford University, to mid-and lower-income countries this week.

Rabat has so far placed orders for 65 million doses, comprising 25 million of the AstraZeneca vaccine – for which it has deals with both Serum Institute of India (SII) and Russia’s R-Pharm – and the remainder with China’s Sinopharm.

Morocco plans a free vaccination campaign targeting 25 million people or 80% of its population, starting with health workers. By Friday, Jan.22, it had reported 463,706 coronavirus infections, including 8,076 deaths.

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus this week described the unequal access poor countries had to COVID-19 vaccines as a “catastrophic moral failure”.

 


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Tony Winterburn

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