Unfortunately, the efficiency of our factories is lower than we expected – admitted the president of AstraZeneka Pascal Soriot on Thursday, explaining why in the first quarter of this year the company will provide the European Union with fewer doses of the preparation than specified in the contract. He expressed hope that productivity will increase in the coming months. He presented explanations during the debates of the European Parliament committees.
– Like you, I am disappointed that the problems in the supply chain are so big. However, I can assure you that we make every effort in the production process, argued the MEPs president of AstraZeneka Pascal Soriot during the Thursday debate in the health and industry committees of the European Parliament.
He added that the vaccine production process is much more difficult than conventional drugs. – Unfortunately, the efficiency of our factories is lower than we expected, but we are increasing it every day. I hope that this productivity will increase in the second quarter of this year – he said.
Soriot assured AstraZeneca that he wanted to cooperate with the European Commission in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. “Commission President Ursula von der Leyen can count on us to increase European production capacity,” he said.
Some factories were “lingering a bit”
He informed that the vast majority of vaccines that are produced in Europe, including the Netherlands, go to the EU market.
– Vaccine production is a very complicated process. Requires thousands of pieces to be ripped all the time. Some production plants managed to speed up production, others were a little delayed. This affected the volume of supplies that was to be delivered to the European Union, Soriot said, answering the question about the reasons for reducing supplies to the EU.
He said his company was working to ensure that deliveries in the second quarter were in line with what was written in the contracts.
The president praises AstraZeneka’s product
Soriot stressed that the AstraZeneca vaccine was very effective. – It significantly reduces the risk of developing COVID-19, and also reduces the risk of hospitalization. (…) It also protects against complications and side effects of COVID-19, he said.
Delays in deliveries
The European Commission has concluded a contract with AstraZeneca for the supply of 300 million doses of the vaccine, with the option of buying another 100 million.
At the end of January, the British-Swedish company announced that instead of the 80 million doses contracted for the first quarter, it would be able to deliver only 31 million. She explained this by the fact that one of the factories had a lower than expected capacity. Then she announced that she would be able to deliver 9 million more doses, so a total of 40 million.
The European Commission has repeatedly informed that it is not satisfied with this state of affairs.
Polish Health Minister Adam Niedzielski also spoke about complications related to the delays in deliveries of AstraZeneki on Wednesday. – This is another piece of information we receive from AstraZeneca, which concerns either shifts or reductions in supplies – he said.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / JEON HEON-KYUN