EU official expects to hit summer jab target despite delivery shortfalls

Brussels, Mar 23 (efe-epa).- The European Union should hit its target of vaccinating 70% of the bloc’s adult population by later summer with the number of Covid-19 vaccines it has already secured and those pending delivery in the second quarter, the bloc’s director-general of health said Tuesday.

European Commission official Sandra Gallina updated a budgetary committee on the bloc’s vaccine rollout.

She warned, however, of the continued risk of delivery shortfalls, saying there was “one company” that was not living up to expectations — a reference to the Anglo-Swedish firm AstraZeneca.

Last week, the European Commission’s president Ursula von der Leyen said the bloc expected to receive 360 million vaccines in the second quarter of 2021 even when taking into account AstraZeneca’s predicted delivery shortfall from 180 million doses to 70 million.

Gallina suggested the final number could be lower still, pointing to around 300 million.

“I’m providing figures that aren’t necessarily on the contracts,” she added, although said that with the discounted delivery number, the EU should nonetheless hit its target to immunize some 225 million people by the end of the summer.

AstraZeneca’s announcements that its Q1 and Q2 deliveries to the EU would be considerably lower than previously agreed in the advanced purchase agreements sparked a row with Brussels, which in its turn threatened to block the export of the jab from the EU, particularly to the United Kingdom. EFE-EPA


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