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AstraZeneca’s fate pending in Europe

The European Union may not renew its vaccine contract with the pharmaceutical group for 2022.

The European Union may not renew its vaccine contract with the pharmaceutical group for 2022.

(AFP) – If the question is raised, the decision is not yet decided. After Denmark’s decision on Wednesday, the European Union could in turn decide to turn its back on AstraZeneca’s vaccine. According to the French Minister of Industry Agnès Pannier-Runacher, this would be “the greatest probability”.

The problem would therefore be to know “whether or not we renegotiate contracts signed in 2020 and which will expire on December 31, 2021,” a member of the minister’s cabinet told AFP. The existing contract, covering the whole of 2021, covers the European Union on a firm order for 300 million AstraZeneca doses and an option of 100 million additional doses, recalled the minister’s office.

In addition, if discussions have been initiated with Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna, the European Commission would not on the other hand have looked into the negotiation of a new contract “with Johnson & Johnson and with AstraZeneca”, underlined the French minister on the radio. this Friday.

The two vaccines, at the heart of the controversy, indeed raise many fears among the population. However, “we have a vaccine portfolio with messenger RNA (Moderna and Pfizer, editor’s note) which works very well and has few side effects”, also notes the Minister. “We have 50 years of hindsight on this type of technology”.

Other vaccines, using this same technology, should also soon arrive on the market. In particular, Novavax and Sanofi. “These vaccines will arrive in the second half of the year, so we will see a lot of doses on different platforms to meet all the needs,” she added.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, argued this week that Pfizer-BioNTech had “proved to be a reliable partner, which has honored its commitments and is responsive to our needs”, countering the problems of delivery of AstraZeneca, developed with the University of Oxford.

Denmark became on Wednesday the first European country to announce the abandonment of the AstraZeneca vaccine, justifying this choice by the “rare” but “serious” side effects despite the green lights of the European regulator and the WHO to use it .

Conversely, Luxembourg is maintaining its course for the time being with the vaccine from the Swedish-British laboratory. By the end of the month, the country expects some 34,600 doses of anti-covid serum.


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