Tit for tat row – Reduced EU Pfizer vaccine exports v UK AstraZeneca imports

The EU has warned it will tighten rules on exports of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, due to a dispute with AstraZeneca over a reduction in supplies to the 27-member bloc. Production problems in the UK mean that the initial 80 million doses ordered by EU member States would be reduced to 31 million – a cut of 60% in the first quarter of this year.

A test tube labelled "vaccine" in front of an AstraZeneca logo. File photo
Reports suggest AstraZeneca may have warned of a 60% cut to doses available

The row could also affect supplies to the UK of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is manufactured in Pfizer’s Belgian plant. Interestingly, Inoculation programmes in some EU members have already been slowed due to a cut in deliveries of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, with some nations threatening legal action. The UK government said it is in “close contact” with both vaccine suppliers, and “Our vaccine supply and scheduled deliveries will fully support offering the first dose to all four priority groups by 15 February.”

Although the AstraZeneca vaccine has not been approved by the EU’s drug regulator, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), it is expected to gain approval at the end of January. Obviously, this dispute has the potential to disrupt the Government’s vaccine programme due to supply problems from both of the main vaccine suppliers. click full article

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