The failing European Commission dispatched inspectors to an AstraZeneca vaccine plant on Tuesday as the bloc’s row with the vaccine maker continues to deepen.
Officials from the Belgian medical agency were sent to do a spot check of the facility to make sure the UK-based pharma firm isn’t misleading the Commission about production delays that are leaving the struggling EU short of doses.
Figures from the Netherlands, Italy, and Spain came along too and the inspectors are now preparing a report on the state of affairs at the plant.
It comes in the wake of a huge row over production delays from AstraZeneca, who have warned the EU to expect fewer doses in Q1 2021 than initially forecast.
It has led to a public and not-so-public war of words between the medicines giant and European politicians, with the German media hitting a new low this week when they reported discredited claims about the efficacy of the AstraZeneca drug among the elderly.
But the delay is partially caused by the EU’s slow bureaucratic approach to talks last summer, which left them more than two months behind the curve compared to Britain.
The hitch has backed Eurocrats into a corner, confronted by their own bungling incompetence. They are now demanding doses be diverted from Britain, where production is going off smoothly because of the extra time afforded to AstraZeneca by the UK’s timely deal-making.
And it was reported by this site earlier today that Britain is now on course to get even further ahead of the EU in the vaccine race as production starts in Scotland on another vaccine, this time from Valneva. As the UK gets going with a bulk manufacturing scheme that could produce 60 million doses this year, the EU has only concluded “exploratory talks” with the group.