AstraZeneca: Expert discusses risk of blood clots from vaccine
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The French European Affairs minister told French TV RMC the production of the Oxford jab had been funded by the EU until December 2020, when the UK was still a member of the European Union. He insisted: “They didn’t play a very nice game. The British say the vaccine is theirs. Yes, this vaccine comes from Oxford, but it was funded until 31 December 2020 by Europe! Almost 100 million euros given for research.
“I would say this vaccine is British, but also European.
“We signed the AstraZeneca contract 24 hours before the British did. In the contract that Europe has with AstraZeneca, the British factories must deliver doses to us. We have received 0 doses. Maybe they played their cards well, but they played a bad game.
“What we are saying is that if you want to be cooperative, we prefer that. But if you don’t want to play as a team, we won’t do it either. This will mean that the European factories will start sending doses to the UK only when we get our doses. We deliver if we receive.”
The British vaccine was mainly funded by Oxford University the research also received 65.5 million pounds in funding from the UK Government.
The UK signed its first contracts with the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company in May 2020, three months before the EU.
The jab was snubbed by several EU countries in March, including France, and its use suspended after reports of cases of blood clots as one of the side effects of the jab.
The move has caused many European citizens to refuse the jab, after reports of blood clots and thrombosis as one of its side effects.
Only a couple of weeks after its resumption, the jab was suspended in Germany for everyone under the age of 60.
In France, the vaccine is now only given to people aged 55 and over.
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The European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organisation have said the benefits outweigh the risks, but are monitoring the situation.
AstraZeneca said in March its vaccine was 76 percent effective in preventing symptomatic infections in a US trial, and that studies did not indicate higher risks of clotting.
The EU has accused the drugmaker of over-selling its vaccine and unfairly favouring Britain – a charge denied by the company.
On Sunday, the head of the European Commission’s vaccine task force, Thierry Breton, claimed that if AstraZeneca had delivered all its contracted doses, the bloc’s vaccination strategy would be at par with that of the UK.
He said: “If we had received the 100 percent of AstraZeneca’s vaccines that were contracted to us, the European Union would be at the same level today as Great Britain in terms of vaccines.
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“So I can say that the poker of turbulence we have experienced is solely due to AstraZeneca’s failure to deliver.
“In the first quarter, AstraZeneca delivered only a quarter of the doses we ordered, while the British received all of them, even though our contract was signed before them, in August 2020.”
Contrary to the Commissioner’s claims, the UK signed its first contracts with the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company in May 2020, three months before the EU.
The pharmaceutical company was forced to announce a shortfall in planned COVID-19 vaccine shipments to the European Union on March 12.
They said they were “disappointed” to make the announcement “despite working tirelessly to accelerate supply”.
They added: “The Company had previously communicated that it is facing shortfalls from its European supply chain due to lower-than-expected output from the production process.
“It had also stated that it was looking to compensate for part of this shortfall by sourcing vaccines from its international supply network.
“Half of the EU’s supply in the second quarter, and 10m doses in the first quarter were due to be sourced from the Company’s international supply chain. Unfortunately, export restrictions will reduce deliveries in the first quarter, and are likely to affect deliveries in the second quarter.
“The Company started delivery of the vaccine to the EU in February. Despite the challenges, it aims to deliver 100m doses in the first half of 2021, of which 30m are due to be delivered in the first quarter.
“The Company is collaborating with the EU Commission and Member States to address the supply challenges. It remains confident that productivity in its EU supply chain will continue to improve, to help protect millions of Europeans against the virus.”
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega
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