AstraZeneca cut its supply forecast of Covid-19 vaccine to the European Union in the first quarter to about 30 million doses, a third of its contractual obligations, and a 25 per cent drop from pledges made last month, a document seen by Reuters shows.
On Feb. 25, AstraZeneca boss Pascal Soriot told the European Parliament that the company would try to deliver 40 million doses by the end of March.
The document shows that on Feb. 24, the Anglo-Swedish company had estimated a supply of only 34 million doses to the EU for the January to March period, well below its contracted target of 90 million doses.
The new cut follows a decision last week by Italy and the European Commission to block a shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines from Italy to Australia, in the first application of an EU mechanism that allows the bloc to refuse export requests from vaccine makers that do not comply with EU supply contracts.
AstraZeneca has committed to making its “best reasonable efforts” to meet the targets set in its contract with the EU, which foresees delivery of 300 million doses from December to the end of June. The vaccine was approved for use in the EU in late January.
AstraZeneca has committed to supplying the 27-nation bloc with 180 million doses between April and June.
But EU countries since February have updated their vaccination plans to include only half of the contracted doses after AstraZeneca told them it was facing difficulties.
Germany, the largest country in the bloc, is expected to receive 19 per cent of the AstraZeneca supplies to the EU between next week and the end of April, or a total of about 6 million doses, including over 2 million in the last week of the month, the document shows.
France should receive nearly 15 per cent of the total, or about 4.7 million shots. Italy, with almost 14 per cent of the overall expected supplies, is to get 4.4 million by the end of April, the document shows.