“This [Italy] shipment was not factored into our distribution plan for coming weeks.”
How did the row with AstraZeneca come about?
The EU signed a deal with AstraZeneca in August for 300 million doses, with an option for 100 million more, but earlier this year the UK-Swedish company reported production delays at plants in the Netherlands and Belgium.
Instead of receiving 100 million doses by the end of March, the EU is now expected to get just 40 million.
The EU accused the company of reneging on its deal, with EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides saying that UK factories making the vaccine should make up the shortfall.
Ms Kyriakides also rejected AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot’s characterisation of the contract as one of “best effort” rather than an obligation to meet a deadline for delivery of vaccines.
As a result of the row, the EU announced export controls which began on 30 January, known as the “transparency and authorisation mechanism”.