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AstraZeneca to deliver nine million additional doses in 'step forward' for vaccinations

The EU will receive 40 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the first three months of 2021.

Image: Shutterstock/hedgehog94

ASTRAZENECA IS TO deliver millions of additional doses of its Covid-19 vaccine compared to reduced figures that it offered to the EU last week.

President of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen has said the company will deliver nine million additional doses in the first three months of 2021, with deliveries starting a week earlier than planned.

Von der Leyen said the move is a “step forward on vaccines”.

“Astrazeneca will deliver nine million additional doses in the first quarter (40 million in total) compared to last week’s offer and will start deliveries one week earlier than scheduled,”  von der Leyen said.

“The company will also expand its manufacturing capacity in Europe,” she said.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was authorised for use in over-18s by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Friday.

It became the third vaccine given the green light in the EU after Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.

However, the number of doses the company would deliver to the EU came into uncertainty as it said it would be unable to fulfill amounts it had previously committed to.

AstraZeneca told the EU it could only supply a quarter of the doses it had promised for the first three months of 2021, which would have a significant impact on member states’ rollout plans.

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The delay meant that Ireland would receive 300,000 fewer vaccine doses up to the end of March than expected.

Chair of Ireland’s vaccination task force Brian MacCraith told an Oireachtas Committee that Ireland would have 1.1 million doses by the end of March, instead of the previously expected 1.4 million.

The additional doses announced today will partly, but not entirely, close the gap between the original doses planned from AstraZeneca and the total the EU will receive.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said this evening that the move is “progress”.

“This is progresses and will mean more vaccines for Ireland in the next two months,” Donnelly said.

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