The Anonymous Widower

Covid: What’s Happening To The EU Vaccine Scheme?

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

These are the introductory paragraphs.

The European Union has been criticised for the slow pace of coronavirus vaccinations in member states.

It has introduced export controls on vaccines produced in the EU after the roll-out was hit by delays and supply problems.

The delays and supply problems seem to concern the AstraZeneca plant in Belgium. Get that running flat out would surely help to solve the problem.

Wikipedia has an interesting statement under Production and Supply for the AZ vaccine, in the Wikipedia entry for the vaccine.

On 13 June 2020, AstraZeneca signed a contract with the Inclusive Vaccines Alliance, a group formed by France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, to supply up to 400 million doses to all European Union member states. However, the European Commission intervened to stop the deal being formalised. It took over negotiations on behalf of the whole EU, signing a deal at the end of August.

It looks to me that the EU strangled a deal that could have saved their bacon, if Wikipedia is correct.

  • Did the delay mean that AstraZeneca delayed completing their European factories, as they were worried about getting any order at all?
  • Sometimes, it is difficult financing firm orders, let alone ones that might be cancelled at the whim of politicians.
  • Was Macron hoping the French vaccine was coming through and so could replace the AstraZeneca vaccine? But it didn’t appear, so the EU had to go cap-in-hand to AstraZeneca, who now had the problem of getting the equipment from suppliers, they’d mucked about.

It looks to me like an almighty coq-up!

The section about the Oxford vaccine in Wikipedia, also says that the vaccine has been licenced to the US, Argentina for Latin America and India and that production from the UK and EU factories will be between 100 and 200 million doses per month, when up to full speed.

Those production figures look like they could satisfy the UK’s order for 100 million doses and 400 million for the EU, if AstraZeneca can get the Belgian plant fully working.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a solution something like this.

  • Novavax gets UK certification very soon.
  • Novavax starts supplying doses to the UK, in perhaps March.
  • AstraZeneca sends some UK vaccine to the EU, with Novavax keeping the vaccination rate high.
  • AstraZeneca gets their EU factories up to speed in something like June.
  • The EU gets its vaccines and is now able to vaccinate at a vaguely acceptable rate if they get their systems right.
  • Moderna comes on stream around the middle of the year.
  • The UK has adequate deliveries of AstraZeneca, Moderna, Novavax and Pfizer vaccines and starts mass vaccination for everyone, around the start of September.

If the EU had allowed the original deal to proceed for EU vaccines, the timescales would probably be have been three months earlier.


The EU will get its vaccines, but later than if they’d placed their orders at the same time as the UK did.

January 30, 2021 - Posted by | Health | , , , , , ,

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