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25 Jan 2021 | 14:02

AstraZeneca will fail to meet Covid-19 vaccine delivery targets in Europe

(Sharecast News) - AstraZeneca will fail to deliver the number of Covid-19 vaccine doses which it had committed to with the European Union for the first quarter. The drug giant was also not able to provide an updated timetable for deliveries in the second quarter of 2021, Reuters reported.

It had been scheduled to deliver over 80m doses over the three months to June.

Deliveries were set to start on schedule on 15 February, but instead of the 80-100m doses originally envisaged for the first quarter, the actual number would now only be 31m, a senior European official reportedly said.

The company blamed reduced yields at a vaccine factory in Belgium run by its partner Novasep for the change in deliveries.

"We will be supplying tens of millions of doses in February and March to the EU, as we continue to ramp up production volumes," AstraZeneca said in response.

According to Reuters, the drug giant was now 'committing' to delivering 31m doses by the end of March.

The Financial Times said part of the reason for the uncertainty around the timetable for new deliveries was that it was not yet known when the vaccine would be approved by the bloc.

However, expectations were that EU approval would come on 29 January.

In 2020, Brussels had pre-ordered 300m shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which had been developed jointly with Oxford University, with an option for a further 100m.

Given that two doses were required for each person, that would cover roughly half the bloc's population.

Norway, which was not a member of the EU, was now reportedly expecting to receive less than 18% of the doses that it had signed up for.

EU officials were set to meet on Monday to ask AstraZeneca for further clarity.

Production of vaccines for the UK had not been impacted.

AstraZeneca had been expected to produce and deliver 3bn doses of its vaccine in 2021.

As of 1359 GMT, shares of AstraZeneca were trading higher by 0.96% at 7,852.0p.
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