The pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, whose vaccine against Covid-19 was authorized by the European Union on January 29, acknowledged on Tuesday February 23 new difficulties in producing the doses promised to the EU. The manufacturer has thus specified that it had to use foreign sites to keep its delivery promises in the second half of the year.

AstraZeneca “Works to increase productivity in its supply chain in the EU” and will use “Its worldwide capacity to ensure delivery of 180 million doses in the second half of the year”, said a spokesperson for the British-Swedish group. “About half of the expected volume must come from the supply chain in the EU”, and the rest will come from the international network of the firm, he added.

On the eve of an extraordinary European summit devoted to the health crisis, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, wanted to be optimistic in an interview with German regional daily Augsburger Allgemeine. “Vaccine manufacturers are our partners in this pandemic” and, if questions are still on the agenda, “We [les] usually resolve amicably “, she said. She also said she was convinced that, despite the difficulties of recent weeks, the situation related to the pandemic was “Significantly improve” due to the increasing number of vaccine shipments.

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“Not a second-rate vaccine”

Before its vaccine was approved by the EU, the group had aroused anger among European leaders by announcing that it would not be able to meet its target of delivering 400 million doses due to insufficient supplies. means of production in the EU. The affair also caused diplomatic tension with Great Britain, which left the European bloc for good, with Brussels implicitly accusing AstraZeneca of reserving preferential treatment to Britain to the detriment of the EU.

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Controversies have also emerged on the front of its effectiveness. Unlike the World Health Organization (WHO), the High Authority for Health (HAS) had recommended not to administer the AstraZeneca vaccine to over 65s, considering that it lacked information about the effects , on this risk category. Professor Alain Fischer, in charge of the French vaccine strategy, however, assured last week that the AstraZeneca product was not “Not a second-rate vaccine”.

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The World with AFP

www.lemonde.fr

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