The European Union plans to purchase an additional 150 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine from Moderna. It has had an exchange with Moderna on this project. Meanwhile, AstraZeneca is uncertain about the delivery of the 40 million doses it promised in Q1.
The EU's current target is to vaccinate 70% of the adult population (450 million people) by the end of the summer. As a result, it has launched the pre-order of almost 2.3 billion doses of vaccine. The purchase is planned from six laboratories. However, pharmaceutical groups are struggling to meet the doses promised to the organization.
Pending deliveries of the vaccines by the pharmaceutical groups, the EU has started discussing a new agreement with Moderna. Moderna will provide 150 million doses of additional vaccine.
In addition, the EU is also considering closing trade with the Novavax laboratory for the supply of 200 million doses of vaccine. These were the statements made to Reuters by two senior officials in charge of the negotiations, following a meeting with biotech last week.
According to one source, some of the doses under the new agreement are likely to be delivered by June. Another source doubts the feasibility of this project, pointing to the difficulties of Moderna, which was only able to deliver 10 million doses to the EU in the first quarter.
Furthermore, the US group has stressed that it will discuss with the regulatory authorities to increase the number of doses in its vials (10 to 15).
Moreover, before starting negotiations with Moderna, a first discussion had already taken place between EU and AstraZeneca officials. This was held on Friday and focused on the decrease in vaccine deliveries. Last month, the Anglo-Swedish group was unable to deliver the number of doses promised to the EU.
AstraZeneca had proposed to the block on January 22 to reduce its first-quarter vaccine contribution by approximately 60% to 31 million doses due to production issues. But after tense discussions with the bloc, the company finally decided to deliver 40 million doses to the EU.
Moreover, the two entities are continuing discussions with the aim of speeding up production. At their meeting, AstraZeneca officials said that speeding up production would be possible if the vaccines were manufactured outside Europe.
The Serum Institute of India can serve as a supplier in this context. In addition, a manufacturing plant in Baltimore, USA, could also be approached. According to Thierry Breton (the European Commissioner for the Internal Market), the bulk of the Baltimore plant's production would be destined for the EU.
However, it should be noted that authorisation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is still required before any vaccine produced outside the EU can be delivered.