Health

EU Covid vaccination plans in TATTERS as AstraZeneca announces delays - 'Unacceptable!'

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The shortfall comes as European leaders face heightened scrutiny over what critics say has been a slower rollout of several Western-developed vaccines than in the USA and U.K. It also comes after European officials clashed this week with Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE over the companies' decision to cut their own planned deliveries of Covid-19 vaccines to the bloc.

The dual shortfalls put the Continent's plans to accelerate its vaccine drive at risk.

They are the only EU country to approve the vaccine, Sputnik V, which has not been approved by the European Medicines Agency. Officials have been banking on the arrival of their AstraZeneca orders next month to speed up bloc-wide vaccinations.

He said Italian authorities were considering taking legal action against Pfizer, AP reported.

This is the second delay from a vaccine manufacturer.

The company has previously faced criticism over how it initially communicated results of the vaccine's late-stage human trials.

"The EU Commission and Member States expressed deep dissatisfaction with this", Stella Kyriakides tweeted on Friday after member states heard from AstraZeneca representatives. We insisted on a precise delivery schedule on the basis of which Member States should be planning their vaccination programs, subject to the granting of a conditional marketing authorisation.

Austria's health-care minister Rudolf Anschober said that AstraZeneca's move was unacceptable.

However, Reuters has confirmed that the company is set to cut the EU's vaccine delivery by 60%, meaning that only 31m of the promised doses are set to arrive on time.

On the same programme, Professor Kingston Mills said that if the delay in supply of the AstraZeneca vaccine could potentially upset the immunisation plans in Ireland.

An AstraZeneca spokesman said Friday, however, that "initial volumes will be lower than originally anticipated".

The company is blaming reduced production at a manufacturing site for the supply problem.

AstraZeneca was expected to deliver around 80 million doses of the vaccine it developed in partnership with Oxford University to the European Union by the end of March.

Martin told the Dáil: "The key game changer for us in this, in terms of the availability of vaccines, will be AstraZeneca".

Germany's health minister Jens Spahn said that "we are now in a phase in which the worldwide demand for corona vaccines is very high".

People in Seychelles age 60 and older will soon be able to get vaccinated against COVID-19 after the island nation received 50,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from India on Friday.

It remains unclear, however, if vaccine doses secured bilaterally by the country would arrive before or after doses as part of European Union contracts and whether those negotiations were outside the joint member state negotiations.

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