RIGA - The European Commission (EC) must hold Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers fully accountable for their failure to meet their obligations to the European Union (EU), Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) said after a remote meeting with President Egils Levits today.
He explained that Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers sign contracts with the EU as a whole and then the vaccines are distributed proportionally across the bloc. Karins pointed out that these issues were discussed with the President of the European Council Charles Michel on Tuesday, and the officials agree on the need for the EU to demand accountability from manufacturers.
"If a manufacturer has production difficulties, it would be expected that all countries that have ordered vaccines would have the same disadvantages - the EU as a whole, Great Britain, as well as the United States. But I am not confident that this is the case at the moment,'' said Karins.
The prime minister also expressed his determination to work in the European Council so that all member states would instruct the EC to hold full responsibility from a manufacturer which has entered into a contract and is committed to supplying Europe with a certain amount of vaccines.
As reported, AstraZeneca Plc has told the European Union it expects to deliver less than half the COVID-19 vaccines it was contracted to supply in the second quarter, an EU official told Reuters on Tuesday.
Contacted by Reuters, AstraZeneca did not deny what the official said, but a statement late in the day said the company was striving to increase productivity to deliver the promised 180 million doses.
The expected shortfall, which has not previously been reported, follows a big reduction in supplies in the first quarter and could hit the EU’s ability to meet its target of vaccinating 70 percent of adults by summer.
The EU official, who is directly involved in talks with the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker, said the company had told the bloc during internal meetings that it “would deliver less than 90 million doses in the second quarter.”
AstraZeneca’s contract with the EU, which was leaked last week, showed the company had committed to delivering 180 million doses to the 27-nation bloc in the second quarter.