Pascal Soriot, chief executive of the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, said that the decline in the rate of vaccination against coronavirus in Europe was not his firm’s fault, but rather insufficient investment, the Financial Times newspaper reports.
On April 26, the European Commission announced that it had launched legal proceedings against AstraZeneca for disrupting the execution of a contract for the supply of coronavirus vaccines to the European Union.
“He (Soriot) suggested that the slowdown in mass vaccination in Europe was not the fault of AstraZeneca, but because of less active investment,” the newspaper writes.
“The US has high vaccination rates, but they don’t have our vaccine. So if our vaccine is the problem in Europe, how did the United States manage to achieve such high vaccination rates?” Soriot said in an interview with the publication.
Commenting on the situation with the supply of the vaccine to Europe, Soriot noted that it could be viewed on the positive side, despite the fact that fewer doses were delivered than expected. “We can look at the situation from the negative side: we delivered less than we expected to deliver to Europe. We can look at the situation on the positive side: we delivered more than 400 million doses (to different countries around the world) and saved tens of thousands of lives,” he said.
The EC representative previously stated that some provisions of the contracts with AstraZeneca were not fulfilled; the company was unable to offer a reliable strategy to guarantee timely deliveries of vaccines. The EC representative added, “all EU states supported this step.” The start of the consideration of the EC complaint in the Brussels court is expected on May 26. In recent months, the EU has faced some problems in the supply of vaccines approved for use in the union, in particular, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca. Delays in deliveries could derail Brussels ‘ ambitious plans to vaccinate 70% of the union’s adult population by mid-summer. Later, Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna were able to overcome the difficulties and restore the delivery of vaccines on schedule, Pfizer is even ahead of it. At the same time, AstraZeneca has not yet been able to solve the problems with providing the European Union with vaccines.