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Irish MEP hits out at 'unacceptable' AstraZeneca delays

MEP for Ireland-South Seán Kelly has criticised pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca for 'reneging' o...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

18.32 25 Jan 2021


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Irish MEP hits out at 'unaccep...

Irish MEP hits out at 'unacceptable' AstraZeneca delays

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

18.32 25 Jan 2021


Share this article


MEP for Ireland-South Seán Kelly has criticised pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca for 'reneging' on their contract with the European Union.

It comes after the EU Commissioner for Health, Stella Kyriakides, said the the explanation for its slow-down was 'not satisfactory'.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen spoke to the company's chief executive on Monday morning, and a second meeting is scheduled for Monday night.

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It emerged at the weekend the company is to cut vaccine delivery to the EU by 60% in the first quarter of this year.

But Mr Kelly told The Hard Shoulder while some delays are understandable, AstraZeneca's is not.

"There has been a slow roll-out in some of the member states - that's member states lack of organisation/preparedness, it's not the European Union's fault.

"And also of course within the pharmaceutical companies, their ability to produce massive loads of vaccines in a very short space of time have been challenging for them.

"Those two will have combined... and have the roll-out slower than we would have expected.

"But at the same time I think where, particularly AstraZeneca is concerned, what they are saying now is just not acceptable.

"They got €336m in August for 300 million doses - that was to ensure that their supply chains and production lines would be ramped up, to expand production capacity and now they're saying they can't deliver.

"That is just not good enough".

EU vs UK supply

He also said it would "go down like a lead balloon in Europe when they find that they don't have the same difficulties supplying the United Kingdom".

He said he cannot understand this approach.

"That's what I can't understand, because without the EU cooperation they certainly wouldn't have the vaccines right now".

He said this would also go very badly, as AstraZeneca was picked over other companies to supply the vaccine to the bloc.

"There were quite a number of companies all bidding for the same money, and the European Union did a very careful analysis and selected AstraZeneca.

"And now when they renege, other companies who didn't make the shortlist I think are going to be very annoyed as well.

"This is going to go down very badly in Europe, and I think AstraZeneca's reputation will be badly damaged - and I don't think there'll be anyone proposing in future that they get big funding for research projects".

Main image: The logo of AstraZeneca is displayed on a smartphone screen behind a syringe with a needle backdropped by the flag of the European Union. Picture by: Andre M. Chang/Zuma Press/PA Images

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AstraZeneca AstraZeneca Delays EU Irish MEP For Ireland-South Sean Kelly Sean Kelly Stella Kyriakides Ursula Von Der Leyen

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