EU turns to India to fill AstraZeneca vaccine supply gap: Reuters

The European Union has asked India to buy 10 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca Plc (NASDAQ: AZN) from the Serum Institute of India, a government official told Reuters. What happened: “The EU ambassador wrote a letter saying please give us (export) permits,” the source said, adding the letter was sent about two weeks ago. India is under increasing pressure to export more of its production to other countries. The EU wants the serum doses to make up for supply bottlenecks at AstraZeneca’s European plants and accelerate the roll-out of the shaky vaccine in the block. A swift approval of the EU application is unlikely and India is working to expand its domestic vaccination campaigns, the Indian government official said. The UK is also pressuring India to export the second half of the 10 million doses it ordered from Serum, according to the sources. India has said it is now focusing on expanding its vaccination campaign after criticizing the government for shipping tens of millions of doses overseas. Why It Matters: In February, Adar Poonawalla, CEO of the Serum Institute said, “SII was directed to prioritize India’s tremendous needs while balancing the needs of the rest of the world. We give our best “. According to Reuters, the African Disease Control Agency said India’s temporary suspension of main exports of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 shot could undermine its vaccination plans and if extended could have “catastrophic” effects. The African Union had planned to vaccinate 30-35% of the continent’s population by the end of the year. “If the vaccines are delayed, we are unlikely to achieve our goal,” said John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Earlier this week, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) announced that it would provide the African Union with up to 400 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, which will begin in the third quarter of this year and continue through 2022. Price Action: AZN stock fell 0.38% on check Thursday to $ 49.53 in market hours. For more information on Benzinga, click here to see what options BenzingaSpringWorks Therapeutics will be trading after the nirogacestat combination study begins dosing in patients with multiple myeloma. Benzinga does not offer investment advice. All rights reserved.