EXCLUSIVE-EU Said Not Expect AstraZeneca Vaccines From US In Near Future – Sources

* Export movement may hamper AstraZeneca’s plans to fill the EU supply gap

* Talks continue between the EU and the US on vaccines: official

* EU tries to get “tricky” Astra shots from India – source

BRUSSELS, March 11 (Reuters) – Washington told the European Union that it should not expect to receive U.S.-made AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines anytime soon, two EU sources said on Thursday, in a further blow to the block supplies. .

The message from the United States could complicate vaccination plans in the 27-nation bloc, which has been grappling since January with delivery delays from vaccine manufacturers.

“The United States told us there was no way for it to ship AstraZeneca vaccines to the EU,” said a senior official directly involved in the EU-US talks.

AstraZeneca told the EU earlier this year it would cut its second-quarter supplies by at least half to less than 90 million doses, EU sources told Reuters, after a further reduction in the first three months of the month. anus.

Later, however, AstraZeneca offered to partially fill the gap with vaccines produced outside of Europe, including in the United States.

A senior EU diplomat said the European Commission told member state diplomats at a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday that the bloc should not expect any US exports “at this time.”

“Basically, the situation is such that any export is complicated, but there is a will to speak,” said the diplomat.

AstraZeneca declined to comment, and the White House had no immediate comment.

It is not known what is behind the possible movement of exports. It’s unclear if AstraZeneca is producing a lot of vaccine in the US or if the US would apply a trade restrictive measure. The AstraZeneca vaccine has not yet been approved for use in the United States.

The move comes after Austria stopped using a batch of AstraZeneca injections while investigating a death from bleeding disorders and illness from a pulmonary embolism.

When asked about the vaccine talks with the United States, European Commission spokesman Eric Mamer said Thursday: “Whatever the legal situation in the United States, we want to work on the ground with the United States to keep open the supply chains”.

“We are not going to give a detailed description of the discussions that are taking place with our American partners.”

But the EU executive did not respond to specific questions about a possible movement in US exports.

The US stance could jeopardize AstraZeneca’s attempts to bring deliveries closer to its contractual obligation to the EU of 180 million doses in the second quarter.

US President Joe Biden said Wednesday that the US government will first administer COVID-19 vaccines to Americans, but that any surplus would be shared with the world.

AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccines are produced in the United States at a facility near Baltimore managed by Catalent, which is listed in the EU supply contract with AstraZeneca as a “backup supply site” and has been licensed by the EU drug regulator as a manufacturer of vaccine ingredients.

The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, had a call with Biden last week, which was followed this week by a meeting between EU industry commissioner Thierry Breton and the COVID-19 response coordinator from the White House, Jeffrey Zients.

Vaccines were discussed in both talks, according to later EU statements.

Talks with the United States on vaccines are continuing and further calls are expected this week, an EU official said.


AstraZeneca had also told the EU that it could provide additional doses to the EU from India, where its vaccines are manufactured by the Serum Institute.

EU drug regulators are currently reviewing the Serum’s manufacturing site, Reuters reported exclusively in early March.

But another EU official said Thursday that the audit process was “complicated” because both the site and the substances used for vaccine production had to be licensed.

The USA is also part of the production network for Johnson & Johnson vaccines to be used in the EU, because according to the EU-J & J contract, injections made in the Netherlands would have to be bottled in the USA. USA

The sources did not refer to possible US obstacles in shipping J&J vaccines to the EU, but several European diplomats said they were concerned about J&J production.

Reuters reported exclusively on Tuesday that J&J told the EU it was facing supply problems that could complicate plans to deliver 55 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to the bloc in the second quarter of the year.

J&J plans to start supplying the EU in April. His vaccine was recommended on Thursday morning by the European drug regulator for use in the EU.

In another development, health authorities in Denmark, Norway and Iceland said they had suspended the use of AstraZeneca vaccine injections after reports of blood clots in some who had been vaccinated.

AstraZeneca told Reuters in a written statement on Thursday that the safety of its vaccine had been extensively studied in human trials and that peer-reviewed data had confirmed that the vaccine was generally well tolerated.

Report by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio and John Chalmers; additional reports from Ludwig Burger in Frankfurt and Nandita Bose in Washington; Nick Macfie edit


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