AstraZeneca to miss European Union vaccine delivery target in second quarter

Angela Merkel posing for the camera Mail Online logo

Angela Merkel posing for the camera Mail Online logo

Meanwhile Greece has indicated it is ready to move faster than its European Union peers, and has already struck a bilateral travel agreement with Israel, the world's vaccination champion.

Greece, Spain and Italy support the system, however northern European Union partners, like Germany, doubt whether the certificates would work.

The proposals call for coordination among the scientific community, industry and public authorities in genome sequencing of virus variants and developing new vaccines.

However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel seemed having warmed up about the idea.

The health ministry said it had agreed to buy a total of 17 million doses of Indian-made vaccines, including 15 million doses of the Novavax shot.

However, she added that for now a vaccination certificate is not a priority considering the low level of vaccination of the population.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen noted pointedly that in terms of companies honoring the delivery commitments in their contracts with Europe, "there is room for improvement" at AstraZeneca. "As of today, the robust data that we can really stand behind come from the 21-day data", he said.

But it doesn't rule out the private sector doing it.

The Greek leader clarified that the certificate will not be equivalent to a health passport, but instead will open a fast lane for travel, without the restrictions caused by diagnostic tests and mandatory quarantine. "This vaccination certificate will be accepted, with the aim of facilitating travel from Israel to Greece", he noted.

A fourth wrote: "The EU blew it big time on this one, thank heavens we are out and free at last".

In March, the bloc could also authorize the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine.

USA has no closer friend than Canada, Biden tells Trudeau
Trump, who re-categorized Canada and other USA allies as competitors, had a sometimes tense personal relationship with Trudeau. Trudeau said last month Canada will seek exemptions to a USA effort to ensure federal agencies buy American-produced goods.

The other countries that are known to be issuing or interested in issuing vaccine certificates at the present time include Cyprus, Sweden, Estonia, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, Italy, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia.

The same sources said the leaders decided on a tougher approach on vaccines export ban for companies not respecting commitments.

Poland was among the most furious countries.

Before the summit, Bulgaria's Health Minister Kostadin Angelov sent an aggressive letter to British-Swedish pharma company AstraZeneca.

The French President launched a stunning attack on the UK's vaccination programme and questioned the effectiveness of the jab developed by scientists at the University of Oxford.

A nurse administers the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to a member of the medical staff in La Baule, France, February 17, 2021.

The shortfall could hamper the EU's plans to meet its goal of vaccinating 70% of adults by late summer.

Still, despite the slow vaccine rollout in Europe, delayed by nearly a month compared to former member the United Kingdom, von der Leyen said the bloc still aims to inoculate 70% of all adults - around 255 million people - by September. It has not yet said if it will introduce a specific vaccination "passport".

The EU has also seen bottlenecks in the deliveries of the shots developed by BioNtech-Pfizer and Moderna - the only other shots now approved by the EU's drug regulator.

Meanwhile, EU anti-fraud agency OLAF has confirmed EURACTIV reports about a vast black market of COVID-19 vaccines.

Last week, pharmaceutical firm Janssen also applied for conditional authorisation for its Covid-19 vaccine, which is being developed by United States firm Johnson & Johnson.

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