AstraZeneca has told the European Union it expects to deliver less than half the Covid-19 vaccines it was contracted to supply in the second quarter, an EU official told Reuters on Tuesday.
Contacted by Reuters, AstraZeneca did not deny what the official said, but a statement late in the day said the company was striving to increase productivity to deliver the promised 180m doses.
The expected shortfall, which has not previously been reported, follows a big reduction in supplies in the first quarter and could hit the EU’s ability to meet its target of vaccinating 70% of adults by summer.
The EU official, who is directly involved in talks with the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker, said the company had told the bloc during internal meetings that it “would deliver less than 90m doses in the second quarter”.
AstraZeneca’s contract with the EU, which was leaked last week, showed the company had committed to delivering 180m doses to the 27-nation bloc in the second quarter.
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Asked about the EU official’s comment, a spokesperson for AstraZeneca initially said: “We are hopeful that we will be able to bring our deliveries closer in line with the advance purchase agreement.”
Later in the day a spokesperson said in a new statement the company’s “most recent Q2 forecast for the delivery of its Covid vaccine aims to deliver in line with its contract with the European Commission”…