It looked very good. A contract in August between the European Union and Oxford Astra Zeneca to deliver 400 million doses to Europe in early 2021. That is if the vaccine proves effective.
On Friday, the European Union is expected to approve the Astra Zeneca vaccine, the company that has promised the equivalent of 3.4 billion Swedish kronor to support secure production capacity and secure deliveries to all 27 EU member states.
Irritability turns into anger
But a few days ago, just two weeks before the deadline, the European Union was informed that Astra Zeneca would not be able to deliver as planned. The deliveries the company is talking about now only correspond to a quarter of the promised doses.
The manufacturer blames production problems on one of its suppliers in Belgium.
At the same time, it appears that Astra Zeneca continues to deliver 2 million doses per week to the UK, where the largest production facility is located.
Anger in the European Union turns into outright anger. Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides accuses Astra Zeneca of breaching the contract and acting repulsively from a societal and moral point of view.
Astra Zeneca believes that the European Union has delayed signing the agreement and that the United Kingdom signed three months before the European Union.
Then they point to what appears to be a legal loophole, promising only “to the best of their ability” to implement an order of 100 million doses to the European Union during the first three months of the year.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he does not want to participate in the fight but is doing nothing to help the European Union.
In the global and asymmetric battle over vaccine doses, the European Union now looks like a loser. In the European Union so far, only 2 per cent of the population has been vaccinated, compared to just over 10 per cent in the UK.
Given that 70% of vaccinated people need to deal with the spread of the virus, according to health experts, the patience of European Union citizens is now being tested.
And the European Commission, which wanted to show its strength, seemed to be on the rampage.