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AstraZeneca and European Commission end legal dispute over supply of Covid-19 vaccine

AstraZeneca has reached an agreement with the European Commission that ends legal proceedings over the supply of its Covid-19 vaccine.

Under the deal, the Cambridge-headquartered biopharmaceutical company has committed to deliver 200 million doses by the end of March 2022.

An AstraZeneca vaccine. Picture: Mecha Morton
An AstraZeneca vaccine. Picture: Mecha Morton

This includes 60 million doses of the vaccine by the end of the third quarter of this year, 75 million by the end of the 2021 and 65 million more by the end of the first quarter of 2022.

The company will supply the 27 EU member states with regular delivery schedules and capped rebates will apply in the event of any delayed doses of the vaccine, now known as Vaxzevria.

The European Commission had initiated legal proceedings against AstraZeneca in Brussels on April 21 and court hearings had been scheduled to take place at the end of September.

It followed a bitter dispute that mired the early roll-out of the vaccine across the EU, with the commission accusing AstraZeneca of breaking its advanced purchase deal. AstraZeneca denied this, stating that the contract only required its “best effort” to deliver the millions of doses ordered.

Ruud Dobber, executive vice president, BioPharmaceuticals Business Unit, AstraZeneca, said: “I’m very pleased that we have been able to reach a common understanding which allows us to move forward and work in collaboration with the European Commission to help overcome the pandemic.

“We are fully committed to manufacture Vaxzevria for Europe following the release for supply of more than 140 million doses to date at no profit. We are also looking forward to working with the European Commission in a joint effort to further support COVAX.”

COVAX is the worldwide initiative aimed at ensuring equitable access to a Covid-19 vaccines.

AstraZeneca and its partners have supplied more than 1.1 billion doses of vaccine to more than 170 countries. Approximately two thirds have gone to low- and lower-middle-income countries.

Real-word evidence shows the jab, co-invented by the University of Oxford and its spin-out company, Vaccitech, is at least 90 per cent effective against hospitalisation after two doses against the Delta variant.

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