AstraZeneca finally reaches vaccine shipping milestone to EU that was due in January
By Francesco Guarascio
BRUSSELS, May 10 (Reuters) - AstraZeneca Plc AZN.L has delivered 50 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to European Union countries, according to EU's latest supply data, a milestone it was originally due to hit in January.
Repeated cuts to supplies, which contributed to delays in the EU's vaccination drive, pushed the European executive commission to sue the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker in late April in a bid to get more doses by mid-year nL1N2MJ0XS.
AstraZeneca had shipped nearly 50 million doses as of May 7, an EU official told Reuters on Monday, citing the latest EU internal figures on vaccine supplies.
In mid-March, the company had pledged to deliver 50.2 million doses to the EU by the end of April, an AstraZeneca document seen by Reuters shows.
But AstraZeneca had shipped only 47.6 million doses by the evening of April 30, a spokesman for the company said, adding that other doses were sent over the first weekend of May and in the following days "following requests to not ship to a few countries that had public holidays during this period".
Immediately after the EU sued the company, AstraZeneca issued a statement on April 26 saying it would deliver "almost 50 million doses to European countries by the end of April".
Under its contract with the EU, the company had committed to its "best reasonable efforts" to deliver 300 million doses by the end of June, of which 70 million were supposed to be delivered by the end of January.
Citing production problems and export restrictions, AstraZeneca in March said it would deliver to the EU only 100 million doses by the end of June. It delivered 30 million in total by the end of March.
The vaccine was approved for use in the EU in late January, but the EU Commission has said AstraZeneca should have applied earlier.
(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Bill Berkrot)
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