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World

AstraZeneca 'not selling EU doses to other countries': CEO

  • He stressed: "We're certainly not taking vaccines away from the Europeans to sell it somewhere else at the profit."
Published January 27, 2021

PARIS: AstraZeneca's CEO insisted Tuesday that the company was not selling vaccines ordered by the European Union to other countries at a profit, after delayed orders sparked fury from EU leaders.

The British-Swedish drugs firm admitted last week that it would not meet its contractual delivery commitments to the EU because of "reduced yields" in its European supply chain.

That prompted European Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides to announce that the EU plans to start tracking vaccine shipments exported to non-member countries -- a sign of growing distrust.

"The European Union wants to know exactly which doses have been produced where by AstraZeneca so far, and if or to whom they have been delivered," she said Monday.

AstraZeneca's CEO Pascal Soriot sought to calm the situation on Tuesday, acknowledging that European governments were growing "aggravated or emotional" due to repeated stumbling blocks in their vaccine rollouts.

"Our team is working 24/7 to fix the very much issues of production of the vaccine itself," he told the LENA European newspaper alliance.

He stressed: "We're certainly not taking vaccines away from the Europeans to sell it somewhere else at the profit."

The company, which teamed up with Oxford University to develop its vaccine, has pledged not to make a profit on sales of the jab during the pandemic.

The company is working with Oxford to develop a vaccine that specifically targets a more infectious South African strain of Covid-19, Soriot said.

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