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EU, AstraZeneca agree to deal over 200M undelivered COVID-19 vaccine doses

EU, AstraZeneca agree to deal over 200M undelivered COVID-19 vaccine doses
A Belgian court in June determined that AstraZeneca had committed a "serious breach" in its vaccine contract with the EU. Until Friday's settlement, the dispute was threatening to continue in legal channels. File Photo by Luong Thai Linh/EPA-EFE

Sept. 3 (UPI) -- AstraZeneca and the European Union agreed Friday to settle a dispute over about 200 million undelivered COVID-19 vaccine doses to the 27-member bloc that could have dragged on in court.

AstraZeneca and the EU struck a deal a year ago for the pharma giant to provide 300 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine. So far, only about 100 million doses have been delivered and the EU had complained that the company isn't sticking to the deal.

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Under Friday's agreement, AstraZeneca has agreed to deliver 134 million doses by the end of 2021 -- 60 million by the end of September and another 75 million by the end of December. It also says AstraZeneca will deliver another 65 million doses by the end of March.

"Today's settlement agreement guarantees the delivery of the remaining 200 million COVID-19 vaccine doses by AstraZeneca to the EU," European Commission Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said in a statement.

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"There are significant differences in vaccination rates between our member states, and the continued availability of vaccines, including AstraZeneca's, remain crucial."

Under the deal the two side agreed to last year, AstraZeneca was supposed to have delivered all 300 million doses by the end of June. To date, the company has fulfilled about 100 million doses of its vaccine, known as Vaxzevria.

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A Belgian court in June determined that AstraZeneca had committed a "serious breach" in its vaccine contract with the EU. Until Friday's settlement, the dispute was threatening to continue in legal channels.

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"I'm very pleased that we have been able to reach a common understanding which allows us to move forward ... to help overcome the pandemic," AstraZeneca BioPharmaceuticals Executive Vice President Ruud Dobber said in a statement.

"We are fully committed to manufacture Vaxzevria for Europe following the release for supply of more than 140 million doses to date at no profit."

The EU announced this week that 70% of residents in the bloc are fully vaccinated.

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