Vaccine delivery talks between AstraZeneca, EU to continue amid heightened tensions

Posted at 6:57 AM, Jan 27, 2021

BRUSSELS — AstraZeneca says it has not pulled out of meeting with the European Union to discuss delayed vaccine commitments to the 27-nation bloc.

An EU official, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the talks, said earlier the Anglo-Swedish giant had pulled out and said the EU would “insist on them” coming back to the negotiating table.

The EU wants the company to explain the delay in deliveries. The European Medicines Agency plans to review the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on Friday.

Wednesday’s talks with the EU Commission and member states were slated to be the third in as many days.

The negotiations come after the EU lashed out Monday at pharmaceutical company, accusing AstraZeneca of failing to guarantee coronavirus vaccines without valid explanation and threatened to impose tight controls within days on COVID-19 vaccines exports made in the bloc.

Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said the EU “will take any action required to protect its citizens and its rights,” Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said.

The EU, which has 450 million citizens and the economic and political clout of the world’s biggest trading bloc, is lagging badly behind countries like Israel and Britain in rolling out coronavirus vaccine shots for its health care workers and most vulnerable people.