In an interview with the Financial Times, the official devalued the negotiations that have been taking place between Brussels and London on the production of vaccines, saying that “there is nothing to negotiate” between the two parties.
Production at the Seneffe plant in Belgium and Halix in the Netherlands “more or less” corresponds to AstraZeneca’s commitments to Brussels, which is why it should be reserved exclusively for the EU, said Breton, quoted by the newspaper.
“I know [a AstraZeneca] produce more, we have no problem, but as long as it does not fulfill its commitment to us, the doses remain in Europe – except for Covax ”, said the official, referring to the WHO mechanism, aimed at the poorest countries.
The European commissioner’s comments provoked an immediate reaction from London. “These statements are disappointing,” said a senior British official. “The only way to win this pandemic together is to find a solution in which we all win,” he said.
“The imposition of export controls and disregard for legal contracts will only hamper global efforts to increase vaccine production and fight the virus,” added the same UK source to the Financial Times.
This threat comes at a time when the supply of vaccines to the population of 446 million in the EU has finally crossed the 100 million mark, despite the huge drops in deliveries from AstraZeneca.
Breton said AstraZeneca is now improving its yields in European production, with the official believing that, in general, the bloc could reach its vaccine delivery goals for the second quarter, or at least not fall far short. .
Brussels did not meet a single vaccination target in the first quarter
The European Union (EU) closed the first quarter of vaccination campaigns without fulfilling a single objective it set. Brussels hoped to arrive on March 31, with 80% of the population over 80 and 80% of vaccinated health professionals, which was not the case.
In both cases, the newspaper said, the EU fell far short of the target, with only 27% of the elderly population and less than half of vaccinated health professionals. In addition, the block was also unable to meet the expected dose distribution schedule.
Still, this last point is not your responsibility, due to failures in the supply of vaccines from AstraZeneca, which delivered 70 million doses less than promised. Brussels hopes to relaunch its campaigns in April and reach the target of 70% of the vaccinated adult population by the end of the summer.
Data from the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) show that only 27% of the population over the age of 80 received the two doses necessary to obtain immunity. In addition, only four of the EU’s 27 member states have exceeded the 80% threshold in this age group (Finland, Ireland, Malta and Sweden) and two others (Denmark and Portugal) have already matched that figure.
With regard to the health sector, ECDC has little data because only 13 countries have sent information, which indicates that 47% of health professionals have already been vaccinated and about 61% have received the first dose.
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