AstraZeneca contract ‘shows Europe is in wrong’
BRUSSELS’ contract with AstraZeneca for Covid jabs was published yesterday as the row over vaccine supplies intensified.
The European Commission said the document, signed in August, contained “binding orders” and backed up its demand for UK doses.
But the document supports claims by AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot that the company’s commitment is based on “best reasonable efforts”.
It says that UK manufacturing sites are covered but does not make clear how jabs produced at those sites would be distributed.
AstraZeneca insists the UK and European supply chains are separate and mean shortfalls in one chain will not necessarily affect the other. Commercial lawyer Steven Barrett said the contract shows the EU’s public position is legally unsustainable and it has made comments that “are demonstrably wrong”.
He said a clause in the contract “clearly shows” the company is only under a “best endeavours” obligation.
Mr Barrett said the inclusion of UK factories in the contract does not mean the EU is entitled to doses made in UK factories.
He also pointed to a clause that warns “competing agreements” signed by AstraZeneca could hit EU vaccine supplies.
He said: “I believe the EU is publicly asserting that it now has a right to jump the queue and take doses that belong to other people.That is expressly wrong.”