COVID-19 vaccine makers ‘must deliver’, European Commission chief warns

Ursula von der Leyen says the EU will set up a ‘vaccine export transparency mechanism’ in the wake of coronavirus vaccine supply cuts by AstraZeneca

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has warned that COVID-19 vaccine makers 'must' deliver
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has warned that COVID-19 vaccine makers 'must' deliver

Companies supplying the COVID-19 vaccine “must deliver and honour their obligations”, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a second warning in as many days.

She said the EU will set up a “vaccine export transparency mechanism” in the wake of a decision by AstraZeneca, a pharmaceutical company, to cut vaccine supply volumes.

“Europe invested billions to help develop the world’s first COVID vaccines and create a global common good. Now the companies must deliver and honour their obligations… The EU is committed to contribute but we also mean business,” she warned.

Her comments come after talks between Brussels and AstraZeneca on Monday failed to unblock the impasse.

European Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said the talks “resulted in dissatisfaction with the lack of clarity and insufficient explanations” from the company.

Kyriakides warned of vaccine export controls after the meeting. Another encounter between the Brussels executive and AstraZeneca bosses is scheduled for Wednesday.

The vaccine produced by AstraZeneca that was developed with Oxford University is expected to receive the go-ahead by the European Medicines Agency at the end of the week.

Malta has one million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine on order as part of the EU’s joint procurement process.

Last week, the company announced it would be cutting down supplies to the EU because of a problem in production.

The news has not gone down well in Europe where many countries have fallen behind in their vaccination roll out.

Von der Leyen said the EU invested large sums to help build “research capacities” and have “production facilities early” and it now expected the companies to deliver.

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