AstraZeneca, the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company that has developed a COVID-19 vaccine with the University of Oxford, has announced they must cut down the deliveries of the vaccine to the European Union (EU) by 60% in the first quarter of this year, as a result of production problems.
The EU are still yet to approve the AstraZeneca vaccine. In a statement to Agence-France Presse, AstraZeneca said that when it has been approved: “initial volumes will be lower than anticipated.”
It was expected that the EU would be receiving 80 million doses in the next two months, however the cuts by AstraZeneca will mean they will only receive 31 million.
According to the company itself, the delay has been due to problems in production at their vaccine factory in Belgium, which is run by its partner Novasep.
Italy and Poland have threatened that they will take legal action against the company in response to the reductions in vaccine supply.
Pfizer have also announced that there will be delays in deliveries of the vaccine to the UK and EU countries due to works at its processing plant in Belgium.
In response to these announcements, European Council President Charles Michel said that “all possible means will be examined to ensure rapid supply, including early distribution to avoid delays.”