The feud between the European Union and AstraZeneca is continuing after AstraZeneca reportedly delayed the delivery of millions of vaccines the two had agreed on.
AstraZeneca originally agreed to give the EU 80 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine. They cut back that number to 31 million doses with the EU saying they received even less than that amount, the Associated Press reported.
“Our contract is not a contractual commitment, it’s a best effort,” AstraZeneca Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said in an interview with an Italian newspaper. “Basically, we said we’re going to try our best, but we can’t guarantee we’re going to succeed. In fact, getting there, we are a little bit delayed.”
The EU was originally supposed to pay AstraZeneca 336 million Euros ($407 million). An EU official told the Associated Press that the EU will recover some of its money if AstraZeneca doesn’t meet their end of the deal.
The EU even threatened on Monday to establish export controls on any coronavirus vaccines made in the EU.
“I call on AstraZeneca to engage fully to rebuild trust, to provide complete information and to live up to its contractual, societal and moral obligations,” said Stella Kyriakides, the European Commissioner for health and food safety.
Kyriakides said that if AstraZeneca can’t fulfill its commitment using EU facilities, it should send some of the vaccines they are making in the United Kingdom. The statement comes after the UK separated from the EU.
AstraZeneca is not approved by EU’s drug regulators yet but is expected to be reviewed on Friday. Right now, only Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have been authorized for use in the EU.
AstraZeneca hopes to distribute three billion doses of the coronavirus vaccine by the end of this year.