AstraZeneca had announced to the EU that the company could deliver much less corona vaccine than expected. There are 29 million cans in the stockpile. According to AstraZeneca, the vaccines are waiting for quality control.
The Italian bottling company Catalent in Anagni stores 29 million cans of AstraZeneca corona vaccine.
The vaccines were bottled in Italy but produced in Leiden (Netherlands).
The EU has been arguing with AstraZeneca for months because the company delivers significantly less vaccine than agreed to to the EU countries.
By the end of March, AstraZeneca had promised 100 million cans, less than a third of which had been delivered.
The manufacturer AstraWITHeneca stores 29 million doses of corona vaccine in Italy – even though it is massively behind with its contractually guaranteed deliveries to the European Union and vaccine is missing everywhere in the EU. This report by the Italian newspaper “La Stampa” sounds unlikely at first, but was confirmed by several sources on Wednesday.
AstraZeneca rejected the reports of the stockpiling of the 29 million vaccine doses as incorrect. A spokeswoman said on Wednesday at the request of the German Press Agency that there are different contingents of the vaccine waiting for approval by quality control. Of these, 13 million doses are intended for poor countries as part of the Covax program. The remaining 16 million should go to Europe after the release, a large part of it in March.
How did the EU react to the find?
The Critic of the manufacturer, who is now in the headlines for the umpteenth time for various reasons, had sounded the alarm after the alleged storage was announced. “That is completely unacceptable,” wrote the CSU European politician Manfred Weber on Twitter. “I can think of no reason why vaccines would be dumped in this pandemic situation,” said an EU representative.
How were the 29 million vaccine doses discovered?
The paper “La Stampa” from Turin describes the processes as follows: EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton, now a kind of vaccine officer of the Commission head Ursula von der Leyen visited the Halix factory in Leiden, the Netherlands, which works for AstraWITHeneca manufactures corona vaccine. There the commissioner had become suspicious. “We suspected that AstraZeneca had more production capacity in Europe than they had indicated,” said an EU representative in Brussels on Wednesday the AFP news agency.
EU Industry Commissioner Thierry Breton therefore asked the Italian authorities to inspect the plant. Because AstraWITHeneca has its vaccine bottled and packaged in Italy, among other places.
The Italian government confirmed on Wednesday that a Catalent plant in Anagni in the Lazio region had been inspected at the request of the EU Commission. According to «La Stampa», the 29 million cans were discovered in the cooling chambers. The newspaper said the vaccines were intended for export to the UK. An EU official did not rule out other targets either. The government of Prime Minister Mario Draghi said in Rome that the vaccines inspected had been targeted in Belgium – which raised further questions.
What are the consequences of the EU’s export ban?
You have to know that AstraWITHeneca currently has practically no chance of getting the vaccines out of the EU. Because export controls have been in place since February 1st. Manufacturers who do not comply with EU treaties can be prohibited from exporting. And AstraWITHSo far, eneca is the only company where this Possibility was used once: Italy stopped 250’000 vaccine doses for Australia.
On Wednesday, the EU Commission tightened the export mechanism with the aim of being able to say no more often if recipient countries do not also allow exports to the EU.
How many doses of vaccine has AstraZeneca delivered so far?
AstraWITHAccording to Brussels, eneca originally promised the EU 120 million vaccine doses in the first quarter – and then reduced this to 30 million. “But they are not even close to that number today,” said EU Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis on Wednesday. In the second quarter, AstraWITHeneca now officially has 70 million cans in prospect – instead of the agreed 180 million.
Where is the AstraZeneca vaccine made?
The British-Swedish manufacturer also and above all has extensive delivery obligations to Great Britain, which has been causing tension between Brussels and London for weeks. It always comes back to the factory in Halix. According to the EU Commission, this has been in production for some time. So far, however, it has no EU approval – according to statements from EU circles, because the company did not advance the application.
The EU drug authority EMA, which is responsible for the approval of the system, did not want to comment on details of the procedure this week when asked by the dpa. In any case, it has long been puzzled as to how much and for whom Halix produces. The UK is reportedly hoping to get most of the vaccine it produces.
What will happen to the 29 million vaccine doses in Rome now?
From German government circles it was said that they were initially pleased “that there are 29 million cans obviously”. After all, hang AstraWITHeneca many times over with the deliveries to the EU. “Perhaps there is now the possibility of significantly increasing deliveries.”
EU representatives in Brussels did not want to comment on the origin, destination and further handling of the vaccine stored in Italy – one had to ask the company about this, it said. In any case, Rome made it clear on Wednesday that the Carabinieri responsible for health protection would from now on control all outgoing vaccine batches at the Anagni plant.
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(DPA / AFP / kle)