By Sola Ogundipe
The European Union, EU, says AstraZeneca cannot export any more doses of its COVID-19 vaccine from Europe until it makes good on its contracts with the Union.
The EU Commission chief, Ursula von der Leyen, who confirmed this after a virtual meeting of the leaders of the 27-nation bloc late on Thursday, told a news conference that companies had to honour their contracts with the EU before exporting to other regions.
“We have to and want to explain to our European citizens that they get their fair share. And this is of course the case with AstraZeneca,” von der Leyen said.
“I think it is clear for the company that, first of all the company has to catch up, has to honour the contract it has with the European member states, before it can engage again in exporting vaccines.”
The EU has been unhappy with slow vaccine rollouts in the EU states and the bloc has blamed pharmaceutical companies – primarily AstraZeneca – for not delivering promised doses, but AstraZeneca has said it honoured its contract.