AstraZeneca to supply 9 million more vaccine doses

01 February, 2021

Courtesy of ICRT

The European Union says vaccine maker AstraZeneca has agreed to supply nine million additional doses to the 27-nation bloc during the first quarter.

The new target of 40 million doses by the end of March is still only half what the company had originally aimed for, triggering a spat between AstraZeneca and the EU last week.

The slow rollout has been blamed on a range of national problems as well as delayed authorisation of the vaccines compared to elsewhere and an initial shortage of supply.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said late Sunday that the British-Swedish pharmaceutical maker will also begin deliveries one week sooner than scheduled and expand its manufacturing capacity in Europe.

The EC said it plans to set up a specialised body to improve the bloc's response to health emergencies and “deliver a more structured approach to pandemic preparedness”.

In related news, Taiwan’s Health Minister over the weekend said the fact that big and rich countries have a monopoly on Covid-19 vaccines is not helpful for combating the disease.

Chen questioned why the World Health Organization didn't intervene when some countries placed orders that were four times their populations.

Asked about Taiwan's development of the coronavirus vaccine, Chen says he's optimistic as the Center for Drug Evaluation has approved UBI Pharma's application for the second phase clinical trials.

UBI is the second company to receive the approval after Medigen Vaccine got it last month.

Medigen says it will try to stick to its original plan of having the vaccines available on the market in June.

The third company, Adimmune, is still going through its first phase of clinical trials.

Chen said on 30 December that Taiwan has secured the order of 10 million doses of the vaccine from AstraZeneca, 4.76 million via COVAX, an organisation under the WHO.

Responding to reports that AstraZeneca vaccines are not very effective for older people, Chen said today many factors would affect vaccine efficacy.

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