France says ‘highly probable’ EU won’t renew AstraZeneca orders

France says 'highly probable' EU won't renew AstraZeneca orders
French industry minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher says a repeat AstraZeneca order would be unlikely. Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP
The European Union is very unlikely to renew its Covid-19 vaccine contracts with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, a French minister said on Friday.

Denmark this week banned the use of AstraZeneca jabs over blood clot concerns, just as the EU said it was expecting 50 million Pfizer vaccine doses earlier than expected.

No final EU decision had been taken, French Industry Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher told RMC radio, but “it is highly probable” that no further AstraZeneca doses would be ordered for 2022.

“We have not started talks with Johnson & Johnson or with AstraZeneca for a new contract, but we have started talks with Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna,” Pannier-Runacher said.

AstraZeneca has had major problems in fulfilling its orders to the EU, with the Bloc ending up with many million fewer doses of the vaccine than it was expecting in the first two quarters, which has had an effect on the speed of the rollout across EU countries.

Denmark said on Wednesday it would stop using the AstraZeneca vaccine altogether over blood clot fears, despite assurances from the EMA and the World Health Organization that the benefits far outweigh possible risks.

Switzerland has never licensed the AstraZeneca vaccine for use and most other European countries now restrict the vaccine only to the older population, who appear to be less at risk from the rare blood clots that have been associated with it.

READ ALSO COMPARE The different strategies used in Europe to vaccinate against Covid-19

Pannier-Runacher added: “We have a portfolio of mRNA vaccines that work very well and have few side effects.

“We are going to have new vaccines, if all goes well, Novavax and Sanofi, which have very good results and we have 50 years of experience with this type of technology. Those vaccines are going to come in the second half of the year, so we’re going to see a lot of doses on different platforms that allow us to meet all the needs.”

Her prediction comes after US drugmaker Johnson & Johnson said it would delay its European rollout, also over blood clot fears – a major hit for the continent’s immunisation campaign as several countries battle rising caseloads.

The J&J and AstraZeneca setbacks are dampening hopes that mass immunisations will allow a swift exit from a pandemic that has killed close to three million people and ravaged the global economy.

Meanwhile, 50 million BioNTech/Pfizer doses that were due to arrive in Europe only at the end of 2021 have been brought forward for delivery as soon as this month.


Member comments

  1. AZ did not deliver (- 70 % !), keeps lying (about delivery, “contract priorities”, clinical studies), causes the famous clots, protects you less than the competitors, and almost not at all against variants, has an invisible and arrogant (and French) CEO. Well, it’s a no brainer: AZ tried to play smart, they failed, others delivered big time, bye bye AZ, flog your stuff to the Brits, since they seem to love you so much over there (at least the tabloids do).

    1. It is also cheap, can be stored in normal fridges, and works against British variant (which is the dominant variant in Europe now).

  2. Get the doses, put a warning on them that there is a 1 in a “x million” chance of blood clots, and let people decide whether they would get that vaccine or not. I’ll take that risk, because it’s less dangerous that crossing the street or riding a bicycle, or even swimming in the sea.

    1. When it happens to you, it is 100%. I know two people who died from blood clots. Go ahead and take the chance.
      This is an experiment and a crime against humanity.

      1. The number of people who got blood clots from AZ and subsequently died is so low, that it is safe to say that you don’t know anyone. Get a life and stop spreading fear online.

        You have higher chance of dying from taking aspirin than from AZ vaccine.

        1. COVID was created as was Aids, SARS, and Ebola. They have patents. Why haven’t the creators been arrested? The media are the ones spreading fear. Now, Pfizer is saying one may need a third jab. Really??? They are also saying people who have COVID antibodies shouldn’t take it as the risk is even higher for clots. You take it. Everyone is different and no one should be force jabbed. Medical history is between patient and doctor only.

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.