The Commission and AstraZeneca settled a long dispute over coronavirus vaccine supply that will provide the bloc with 200 million doses by March 2022, they announced Friday.
The drugmaker agreed to provide 60 million more doses by the end of the third quarter, another 75 million by the end of 2021, and the last 65 million by March 2022. The company said it has delivered 140 million doses to date.
EU countries will receive regular delivery schedules and will get a “capped rebate” for any delayed dose: 10 percent for one month of delays; 25 percent for two months; and 40 percent for three months or more, according to AstraZeneca.
The rebate won’t apply if the delay is beyond the “reasonable control” of AstraZeneca, “which will bear the burden of proof,” according to the Commission.
The settlement ends the EU’s lawsuit that was going to continue in Belgian courts in September.
“While this week we reached the important milestone of 70 percent full vaccination of the EU’s adult population, there are significant differences in vaccination rates between our Member States, and the continued availability of vaccines, including AstraZeneca’s, remain crucial,” Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides wrote in a statement.
The agreement will probably not have a major impact on vaccination within Europe, as the EU will end up donating many of these doses. Numerous countries have pledged to donate at least 200 million doses of vaccines through the global facility COVAX by the end of the year, many of which will be from AstraZeneca.
The EU began legal proceedings against the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker in April after the company failed to supply EU countries on time. AstraZeneca was ordered to supply 50 million doses by late September or face fines.
By the end of June, the company delivered almost 100 million doses, a third of what it had promised in its contact with the EU. Court hearing were to continue in September.
“I’m very pleased that we have been able to reach a common understanding which allows us to move forward and work in collaboration with the European Commission to help overcome the pandemic,” Ruud Dobber, AstraZeneca’s executive vice president for biopharmaceuticals, wrote in a release.