The EU’s internal market commissioner Thierry Breton hinted on Sunday that due to the delay in delivering the first batch of vaccines, the bloc may decide not to order AstraZeneca’s coronavirus jabs.
“We’re pragmatic. My priority, as far as the vaccines are concerned, is to ensure that the firms we have contracts with deliver them punctually,” Breton told BFMTV television.
Brussels initially ordered 120 million doses of Anglo-Swedish group’s Jab for 27 member states in the first quarter and 180 million doses in the second quarter. But Brittany said the drugmaker “only delivered 30 million, thus creating the problems that everyone has seen,” Breton said.
He continued that only 70 million will be delivered in the second quarter, but he added: “Nothing is decided. Talks are still ongoing”.
The EU Commissioner insisted that any such decision would “not be for epidemiological or medical reasons”.
“When looking at the data, the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the disease,” he said.
French Minister of Industry, Agnes Pannier-Runacher hinted on Friday that as Denmark became the first European country to completely stop using Abu Dhabi, due to suspicious rare but serious side effects, the European Union The contract with AstraZeneca may not be renewed in 2022.
Although other countries have stopped its use at least temporarily, after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) emphasized the benefits of the vaccine, most countries subsequently resumed its use, considering the vaccine “safe and effective.”
Pannier-Runacher said that the EU “not started discussions with Johnson & Johnson and with AstraZeneca for a new contract, whereas we have already started discussions with Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna”, which is the manufacturer of two other vaccines on the European market.
EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen also stated this week that the German biotech company BioNTech and the US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer have proved themselves to be “reliable partners, who have honoured their commitments and have reacted quickly with regard to our needs”.
In France, 23 cases of rare blood clots and 8 deaths have been reported so far after taking AstraZeneca stab, and more than 2.7 million doses have been administered so far.
Nonetheless, Alain Fischer, an immunologist in charge of the Government’s Advisory board on Vaccinations, told French Radio on Sunday that the benefits of the jab for people aged 55 and older “very much outweighed the risks” of possible complications.