EU ends dispute with AstraZeneca over vaccine deliveries

Covid-19 vaccines updates

The European Commission has ended an acrimonious court dispute with AstraZeneca, agreeing a revised schedule for the delivery of Covid-19 vaccines with far lower penalties for any failure to meet the targets.

AstraZeneca will have until the end of the first quarter of 2022 to finish its deliveries, after missing a deadline to deliver the doses by the end of June.

If it fails to meet the targets it will have to pay “rebates” as a percentage of the cost of the vaccine, which is about $3 to $4. These start at 10 per cent for a month delay and rise to 40 per cent for a delay of three months or more. Brussels had demanded a penalty of €10 a dose a day.

Stella Kyriakides, commissioner for health and food safety, said the settlement guarantees the delivery of the remaining 200m doses from AstraZeneca.

“While this week we reached the important milestone of 70 per cent full vaccination of the EU’s adult population, there are significant differences in vaccination rates between our member states, and the continued availability of vaccines, including AstraZeneca’s, remain crucial,” she said.

The lawsuit, which started in April, was an escalation of a battle between the EU and the UK-based vaccine maker over the deliveries of the Covid-19 shot known as Vaxzevria. Ruud Dobber, executive vice-president of the company’s biopharmaceuticals business, said he was very pleased the pair had reached a “common understanding”.

“We are fully committed to manufacture Vaxzevria for Europe following the release for supply of more than 140m doses to date at no profit,” he said.

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