Saturday, 19 June, 2021


AstraZeneca to miss second-quarter EU vaccine supply target by half

Seychelles to increase interval between Covishield doses following new recommendation Covishield rolled out on January 26 and was first given to the country's leaders
Melba Vasquez | 26 February, 2021, 16:43

A working statement for the leaders that was seen by Reuters said "We call for work to continue on a common approach to vaccination certificates".

The British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical giant told the bloc during internal meetings that it "would deliver less than 90 million doses in the second quarter", according to an European Union official cited by the outlet.

One of Europe's poorest countries, Ukraine has lagged behind its neighbours in securing vaccines for its 41 million people, asking European Union member states for help while refusing to buy the Sputnik V vaccine from Russian Federation.

Sandra Lindsay (L), a nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Centre, is inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine by Dr Michelle Chester at Long Island Jewish Medical Centre on 14 December 2020 in the Queens borough of NY.

But the European Union was heavily criticized for taking nearly a month longer than Britain to approve the first vaccines and for lagging so far behind in vaccinating its people.

Merkel said that such a system could be implemented as soon as the summer, but claimed that the introduction of a vaccine passport "does not mean that only those who have a vaccination passport are allowed to travel", according to the German broadcaster DW. "For me it does not make sense not to facilitate travel - to the extent of course that we will feel comfortable welcoming those who have been vaccinated", he added. He also rejected the idea that companies can simply open new production sites to solve the problem, saying that engineers must spend a lot of time training staff. "There's no way they could train any more people", he said.

Covax, a global mechanism for developing, manufacturing and procuring Covid-19 vaccines and supply member countries, is expected to provide Vietnam with another 4.9 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine in the first half of this year. The company has not yet submitted the vaccine to the U.S. FDA. The company has prepared three freezer units in HCMC, Da Nang and Hanoi to simultaneously store three million doses of Covid-19 vaccines at once.

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.

"This is a goal that we are confident we will reach", she said. "Not only does the situation remain serious in many parts of Europe but we must also watch for the new variants that are spreading", she said.

"There is growing Covid fatigue among our citizens".

Also debated was the issue of "vaccine certificates", which could help smooth a return to air travel and possibly avoid another disastrous summer holiday season, as the tourism industry and broader economies suffer from restrictions. "But we should not let up now".

Southern European countries that are heavily tourism-dependent, including Greece, are banking on some version of a certificate or "vaccine passport" to allow people to move freely this summer without fears of quarantines or other border restrictions.

Alain Fischer, the head of France's vaccine strategy orientation council, said on Thursday that recent findings suggest the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine "is efficient in people aged over 65", and said the country's health authority would look again into its recommendations for the jab.

"The most important question remains whether you can still transmit the disease".

Among those who are reluctant to receive a shot is Sergei Khabustov, 63, who is in the Kolomyya hospital along with his 85-year-old mother.

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