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AstraZeneca boss Pascal Soriot has rejected the suspicion that his company actually supplies vaccine doses intended for the EU to other countries.
AstraZeneca does not sell the vaccine "elsewhere for profit," assured Soriot in an interview published on Tuesday evening with a group of European newspapers, to which the German newspaper "Die Welt" belongs.
AstraZeneca developed its vaccine for non-profit purposes, "we don't make any money with it," emphasized the company boss.
He added: "I think we treat Europe really fairly."
The EU Commission suspects that bottlenecks in supplying the European Union with the AstraZeneca vaccine could be due to the British-Swedish manufacturer supplying the UK and other non-EU countries with full quantities of the vaccine.
According to Brussels, at two meetings with the EU Commission and the member states on Monday, AstraZeneca could not adequately explain how the delivery bottlenecks came about.
According to the Commission, another meeting with the company is scheduled for this Wednesday.
Soriot pointed out that AstraZeneca had signed its supply agreement with the UK three months earlier than with the EU.
There were also "initial problems" with deliveries to Great Britain.
But there was three months more time to fix these problems.
In the EU, AstraZeneca is two months behind the original plan.
“But the deal with the British was signed three months before the one with Brussels.
We had three more months there to fix breakdowns. «His company is not contractually obliged to deliver certain quantities of vaccine.
According to him, Brussels wanted to be supplied more or less at the same time as the British - although they had signed three months earlier.
"That's why we promised to try, but didn't commit ourselves by contract."
The background to this is the announcement by the pharmaceutical company that it will initially deliver less vaccine than agreed after the approval that is expected this week.
Instead of 80 million vaccine doses, according to EU information, only 31 million should arrive by the end of March.
The EU does not want to accept the reason given - problems in the supply chain.
She demands compliance with the contract.
The EU Commission invited representatives of the British-Swedish group to a crisis meeting with experts from the EU countries this Wednesday.
Soriot rejects low effectiveness in the elderly
Soriot rejected reports from German media that the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca vaccine was low in the elderly.
The "Handelsblatt" reported that the vaccine was only expected to be effective at eight percent in those over 65 years of age.
Soriot misrepresented this number: "How can you assume that testing authorities around the world will approve a drug that is only eight percent effective?"
The Federal Ministry of Health also denied reports on Tuesday that the AstraZeneca preparation was less effective in seniors.
It spoke of a possible mix-up of numbers.
From the data mentioned, no low effectiveness in the elderly can be derived, said the ministry.
However, it has been known "since autumn that fewer older people were involved in the first studies submitted by AstraZeneca than in studies by other manufacturers."
The AstraZeneca vaccine has not yet been approved in the EU.
A decision by the European Medicines Agency EMA on the approval of the preparation is expected on Friday.
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