EU has not yet ordered more AstraZeneca vaccines, says internal market commissioner


FILE PHOTO: Syringes are prepared to administer the AstraZeneca coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at a new mass vaccination centre in WiZink sports arena in Madrid, Spain, April 9, 2021. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

PARIS (Reuters) -hThe European Union has not yet made any new orders for AstraZeneca vaccines beyond June when their contract ends, European Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said on Sunday.

Breton also said he expected that the costs of the EU's recent order for more doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines would be higher than the earlier versions.

The Commission last month launched legal action against AstraZeneca for not respecting its contract for the supply of COVID-19 vaccines and for not having a "reliable" plan to ensure timely deliveries.

"We did not renew the order after June. We’ll see what happens," said Breton, adding that it was "a very good vaccine".

Concerns has risen on potential side-effects of the Anglo-Swedish COVID-19 vaccine.

Europe's medicines regulator said on Friday it is reviewing reports of a rare nerve-degenerating disorder in people who received the shots, a move that comes after it found the vaccine may have caused very rare blood clotting cases.

Breton said an increase in prices for second generation vaccines could be justified by the extra research required and potential changes to industrial equipment.

The European Union signed a new contract with Pfizer-Biontech to receive 1.8 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines for 2021-2023, to cover booster shots, donations and reselling of doses, the European Commission said on Friday.

"There may be a little extra cost but I will let the competent authorities unveil it in due course," he told France Inter radio.

(Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide; Editing by Toby Chopra, Andrew Cawthorne and Raissa Kasolowsky)

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