Friday, May 14, 2021

Moderna cuts deliveries to Italy and France amid another blow to EU vaccination plans

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Vaccine maker Moderna has told Italy and France it will deliver fewer doses than expected in February, another blow to struggling coronavirus vaccination plans in the EU.

Domenico Arcuri, the Italian special commissioner in charge of
response to the pandemic, Moderna said in Rome delivery volumes will be 20% lower than forecast from early February.

France’s health ministry has said it now expects 25% less doses of US biotech than was originally expected next month. Moderna did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cuts are the latest vaccine supply disruptions to leave the EU failed vaccination strategy. AstraZeneca warned EU officials last week that it could provide less than half of the vaccines the bloc had ordered for the first three months of the year, causing a bitter clash on the contractual conditions.

Giuseppe Conte, the Italian Prime Minister, last week accused AstraZeneca of “serious breach of contract” for what he called an unexpected reduction in deliveries of the Covid-19 vaccine that the company has developed with the University of ‘Oxford, and said Italy would consider “any legal steps.” In response to the dispute and with AstraZeneca’s agreement, the European Commission published a redacted copy of the supply contract, or advance purchase contract, on Friday.

BioNTech / Pfizer has also had to cut some deliveries of its vaccine, as the three major groups struggled to meet high demand.

“Today, almost every day, the planned deliveries are modified”, declared Mr. Arcuri on Friday, stressing “the astonishment of Italy, our concern and our
disappointment”.

Moderna had told him that 132,000 doses of his vaccine would arrive from the week of February 9, against 166,000 doses expected by the Italian government.

In France, the health ministry said it was now expecting around 600,000 doses for the month of February, instead of the 800,000 doses it had planned. BioNTech / Pfizer had already reduced its
domestic deliveries in January of 200,000 doses from an original
promise of 2.6 million doses.

Authorities in Paris, northern Hauts-de-France and Bourgogne-Franche-Comté – representing a third of the French population – on Thursday ordered hospitals to delay the first vaccine injections by two to four weeks in order to conserve doses for those who need it. second and last injection.

The Spanish regions of Madrid, Catalonia, Andalusia and Valencia have
also all complained of delays in Moderna shipments. Spain’s health
Minister Carolina Darias said Thursday evening that 52,000 Moderna
the doses would arrive next week. To date, Spain has received
35,700 Moderna vaccines and 1.7 million BioNTech / Pfizer vaccines.

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