The contract concluded by the European Union with the COVID-19 vaccination manufacturer AstraZeneca has been made public. The agreement, which will, at the request of the company, so far, a secret, it was a lot to do, since AstraZeneca has announced tentative, much less vaccine than had been agreed upon.
In the contract published by the European Commission on Friday, the number of doses of AstraZeneca delivered, when and from which plant was eliminated. EU sources say that the British-Swedish company promised 80 million doses in the first three months of the year, or actually 120 million. AstraZeneca announced last week that it could not produce more than 31 million doses due to delays in a Belgian vaccine factory.
That is not enough for the EU. AstraZeneca should, if necessary, supply the EU with vaccines from its British factories, even if, according to the company, they are intended for the United Kingdom. The contract provides that AstraZeneca will endeavour “to the best of its ability” to produce the agreed amount of vaccines in factories in Belgium, Italy/Ireland and the United Kingdom. Which factories are precisely intended is not visible.
The agreement that AstraZeneca should do its best is also an important point of contention. The top man of AstraZeneca used that as a defence rather: his company promised no result, but only an effort. But that provoked the anger of the EU, which maintains that it was only about the development and not the delivery of the vaccine.
Nor is the EU paying for the vaccine visible in the agreement. The AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to be approved for use in the union later in the day.
39 million doses offered
The vaccine maker would have offered to deliver 39 million doses earlier this week. But that is still far too little, according to an EU source. At the latest consultation so far between AstraZeneca and the European Commission and the EU countries, on Wednesday evening, the manufacturer would not have increased that bid.
Many EU countries, including the Netherlands, have heavily used AstraZeneca’s vaccine. The Netherlands had hoped to receive millions of vaccines in February and March, but with what is now on the table it would have to do with about 1.2 to 1.5 million.
Sunday means president of the commission, Ursula von der Leyen, a meeting with the directors of each of the six producers in the EU, the contracts have ended.