Italy just published AstraZeneca contract with EU in full… and it’s causing chaos

BBC details how EU AstraZeneca vaccine row unfolded

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AstraZeneca has committed to supply the EU with 80 million to 100 million doses of the much-needed COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2021’s first quarter. But the EU Commission has been at loggerheads with the coronavirus jab supplier since January after it emerged AstraZeneca would fall short of its target by some 75 million jabs due to problems with production at plants in Europe. The EU has aimed to vaccinate at least 70 percent of its member states’ populations by the end of the summer.

And with the AstraZeneca shortfall throwing the plans into disarray, the European Commission decided last month to temporarily restrict exports of vaccines produced in the EU.

The move has caused the EU to be branded “morally reprehensible” and Brussels went as far as to demand doses meant for Britain were diverted to the continent.

Tensions also flared when France and Germany threatened to launch legal action against the British-Swedish drugmaker if it did not increase its supply of EU-bound vaccines.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo then confirmed production issues at the company’s facility in Seneffe, including a shortage of raw materials.

However, he warned of “legal consequences”, if it became evident jab suppliers “have not respected their obligations”.

And it has now been revealed the EU might be all bark and no bite after Italian state media published in full the contract between AstraZeneca and the European Commission. You can read the contract here.

The document outlines the terms and conditions of the strained partnership, including the number of jabs AstraZeneca has committed to delivering and the circumstances under which the EU could take legal action.

Brussels stirred the pot at the end of January after it published a redacted version of this contract – a move attacked by some who said it “breaks the rules”.

However, according to Politico’s Jillian Deutsch, the EU has waived its right to sue the drugmaker over any delays in its vaccine rollout.

The contract also states the EU cannot sue AstraZeneca over unexpected circumstances regarding the vaccine’s effectiveness or safety.

Similarly, the EU cannot take legal action if problems arise due to storage, transport and dispensing of the jab.

The EU can take action if problems arise from “AstraZeneca’s willful misconduct or failure to comply with EU regulatory requirement.”

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Another exception outlined in the contract is if AstraZeneca fails to meet the “good manufacturing practices” required by EU “rules, principle, and guidelines”.

According to the document, AstraZeneca has vowed to supply the EU with 300 million doses of the Covid jab in three stages.

AstraZeneca has also committed to delivering 100 million doses of the vaccine developed by scientists at Oxford University to the UK.

The first 30 million EU-bound doses were to be delivered by the end of 2020.

Then, 100 million doses were meant to reach the EU by the end of the first quarter this year, with a total of 300 million jabs delivered by June.

According to an investigation by RAI, AstraZeneca has also promised not to make any profit from the vaccine until July 2021.

The company said it would make “best reasonable efforts” to hit the 300 million target but final delivery is “subject to agreement of delivery schedule and regulatory approval”.

On January 31, EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said AstraZeneca would deliver an additional nine million doses of the vaccine in the first quarter.

The boost would add up to about 40 million jabs in the first quarter – 60 million fewer than promised by the end of the first quarter.

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