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01 Feb 2021 | 07:34

AstraZeneca pledges 9m more Covid vaccine jabs to EU

(Sharecast News) - AstraZeneca is set to supply an extra nine million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine to the European Union after a high-profile row over shortages. European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen said the extra doses will come in the first three months of the year, making a total of 40m for that period.

Von der Leyen said the company, which has production sites in the UK and on the Continent, will start deliveries one week earlier than planned and expand its manufacturing capacity in Europe.

The Anglo-Swiss pharmaceutical giant recently told Brussels the initial number of doses it could supply to the bloc would be lower than first thought, due to manufacturing issues, which sparked a dispute over supplies.

The pace of the vaccine rollout in the 27-member bloc has so far been slow and Von der Leyen admitted the situation would be "difficult" in March and April - but wanted 70% of adults in Europe to have a jab by the end of the summer.

Last week, AstraZeneca said it could bring forward some deliveries to the EU and offered eight million more jabs to the bloc in an attempt to defuse the row.

But an EU official said that was far short of what was originally promised as AstraZeneca had committed to at least 80 million shots in the first quarter of the year.

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