UPDATE: Half of weekly Astra vaccine deliveries to EU delayed

(Alliance News) - Half of AstraZeneca PLC's vaccine shipments to the EU will be delayed this ...

Alliance News 9 April, 2021 | 7:43PM
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(Alliance News) - Half of AstraZeneca PLC's vaccine shipments to the EU will be delayed this week, a company spokesman told AFP Friday, as much of the bloc works to speed up a slow rollout of Covid jabs.

"We communicated to the European Commission and member states last week that one of the two batches for delivery this week would require testing and will be delivered soon," the spokesman said.

The company nonetheless "remains on target to meet its delivery plans for the second quarter" of 2021, the spokesman added.

"Weekly deliveries typically show small fluctuations depending on a number of operational factors such as distribution or completion of quality and safety testing."

A Financial Times report said the company expected to deliver 1.3 million doses to the 27 EU members plus Iceland and Norway this week, rather than the 2.6 million expected initially.

The EU has a population of almost 450 million people.

The shortfall would be spread out across all the countries, the newspaper said.

Relations between the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical group and the EU regarding its Covid-19 vaccine have been difficult at times and delivery delays have been a recurring problem.

The EU's drug regulator said earlier Friday it was probing a new condition possibly linked to the vaccine.

Five cases were reported of people suffering a rare condition in which tiny blood vessels leak after getting the AstraZeneca jab, causing swelling and a drop in blood pressure.

"It is not yet clear whether there is a causal association" between the two vaccines and the cases, the Amsterdam-based EMA said in a statement that also referred to a vaccine produced by US group Johnson & Johnson.

That came on top of an EMA advisory on Wednesday that blood clots should be listed as a "very rare" side effect of the AstraZeneca jab.

Several countries have now restricted use of the AstraZeneca vaccination, for example in Britain to those over the age of 30, or in Sweden to those over 65.

French health authorities said Friday that more than half a million people under the age of 55 who had already received one shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine would be offered a second shot of one produced by Pfizer Inc-BioNTech SE or Moderna Inc.

Hong Kong on Friday confirmed it has requested Astra suspend delivery of its Covid-19 vaccine amid fears of severe side effects and concerns over its efficacy against new variants of the coronavirus.

Europe's medicines regulator said this week the Astra vaccine could cause very rare blood clots in some recipients, prompting a cascade of countries to pull the plug on giving it to people under a certain age.

Britain sought Thursday to quell fears over the jab, saying the potential side effects were extremely rare – and the risk of falling seriously sick from Covid-19 was far greater.

On Friday Hong Kong's health chief Sophia Chan said the city has asked AstraZeneca not to deliver as planned later this year.

"We think it is not necessary for AstraZeneca to deliver the vaccines to the city within this year," she said, adding Hong Kong wanted "to avoid any waste as vaccines are in short supply globally".

Wealthy Hong Kong has already secured a good supply of vaccines for its 7.5 million residents.

It has signed deals for 7.5 million shots each with BioNTech SE-Pfizer Inc and China's Sinovac, both of which have begun deliveries.

Chan said Hong Kong was also keen to look at other vaccines that may have stronger results against newer strains of the coronavirus. 

source: AFP

Copyright 2021 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security Name Price Change (%) Morningstar
Rating
AstraZeneca PLC 7,864.00 GBX 0.15
Moderna Inc 157.60 USD 5.16
Johnson & Johnson 170.91 USD 0.56
Pfizer Inc 40.15 USD 0.12

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Alliance News

Alliance News provides Morningstar with continuously updating coverage of news affecting listed companies.

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