EU Urges AstraZeneca To 'catch up' On Vaccine Deliveries

Health | March 26, 2021, Friday // 10:14|  views

The vaccine producer AstraZeneca must "catch up" on its promised deliveries to the EU before exporting doses elsewhere, the bloc's chief has said.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the company has to honour the contract it has with member states on Thursday evening.

She spoke after EU leaders held a summit to discuss vaccine supplies.

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters this marked "the end of naivety" from the EU.

Vaccines rollouts in European Union states have started sluggishly, and the bloc has blamed pharmaceutical companies - primarily AstraZeneca - for not delivering promised doses. AstraZeneca has denied that it is failing to honour its contract.

"I think it is clear that first of all the company has to catch up," Mrs von der Leyen told a news conference after the virtual leaders summit.

The EU has been criticised, primarily by the UK and the World Health Organization (WHO), for so-called vaccine nationalism after it introduced export controls on jabs produced within the bloc.

In response, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that "blockades" were not "sensible".

He said that a ban would imperil the UK's vaccination drive, which has so far been more successful than most EU member states' vaccine programmes.

But Mrs von der Leyen hit back on Thursday, arguing that the EU was the "region that exports most vaccines worldwide".

The EU chief earlier tweeted that the EU had exported some 77 million doses to 33 countries since December,

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron backed the EU's export controls and said the summit marked "the end of naivety" from the bloc.

Mr Macron earlier expressed frustration at the slow pace of much of Europe's vaccine rollout. "We didn't shoot for the stars," he told the Greek television channel ERT before the summit. "We were wrong to lack ambition."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also said the EU "not only supplies itself, but also exports to the world - in contrast to the US and Great Britain".

Ahead of Thursday's meeting, the former president of the European Commission Jean Claude Juncker urged the bloc to avoid a "stupid vaccine war" with the UK./bbc

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Tags: AstraZeneca, European Union

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