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AstraZeneca confirms attendance for talks on COVID-19 vaccine delay, shortly after EU official says it had pulled out

It was not instantly clear if AstraZeneca had reversed a choice to tug out, or if the EU’s info that it wouldn’t take part was incorrect.

Confusion erupted on January 27 over a scheduled assembly between AstraZeneca and the EU to debate the pharmaceutical group’s delay in delivering its COVID-19 vaccine.

An EU official advised AFP that AstraZeneca had abruptly pulled out of the meeting — the third known as for this week — in what was seen as an escalation within the contractual row over the deliveries.

But shortly afterwards AstraZeneca issued a press release saying: “We can confirm we have not pulled out, we will be attending the meeting with EU officials later today (Wednesday).”

It was not instantly clear if AstraZeneca had reversed a choice to tug out, or if the EU’s info that it wouldn’t take part was incorrect.

A European Commission spokeswoman, Dana Spinant, advised journalists the state of affairs with AstraZeneca executives was “evolving”. “I can’t say whether AstraZeneca will be represented,” she stated, including that some enter was anticipated from the agency in the course of the assembly.

Public communication on the difficulty has develop into more and more sharp.

The European Commission is demanding AstraZeneca fulfil its contract for the vaccine doses.

But AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot stated in an interview given on January 26 that his agency was sure solely to make its “best effort” to ship the doses.

“We didn’t commit with the EU… It’s not a commitment we have to Europe,” he stated.

He additionally stated that former EU member Britain — which has been rolling out AstraZeneca vaccine jabs at a excessive tempo — had a headstart on the European Union by signing its contract three months earlier, giving time to iron out “glitches” in U.Okay. vaccine crops.

A senior EU official on January 27 rejected these factors made by Mr. Soriot.

“We contest many of the things in the interview, including the idea that the factories in the U.K. are reserved for U.K. deliveries. It’s not true,” the EU official advised AFP.

‘Unsatisfactory’ solutions

The January 27 assembly was the third scheduled this week between the EU and AstraZeneca representatives. The first two, each on January 25, resulted within the EU being given “unsatisfactory” solutions, European well being commissioner Stella Kyriakides stated afterwards.

While Mr. Soriot revealed a number of the phrases of the contract signed with the European Commission, the total contract stays confidential at AstraZeneca’s demand.

The Commission was to transient journalists in additional element on its response and on the more and more bitter feud that has erupted with the pharmaceutical agency.

The delay, coming on high of 1 introduced two weeks in the past by BioNTech/Pfizer, threatens to scupper the Commission’s purpose of getting 70% of all adults within the EU vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19 by the top of August.

Already the rollout of jabs is trailing effectively behind Britain, the United States and Israel on a per capita foundation.

Two vaccines are presently authorised for use throughout the 27-nation bloc: the BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna jabs.

The European Medicines Agency is predicted to approve the AstraZeneca vaccine late this week.

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