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Astra Zeneca UK contract signed day after EU

by Frank Schnittger Sat Feb 20th, 2021 at 04:52:24 PM EST

CNN is reporting that the contracts signed by Astra Zeneca with the UK and the EU are essentially the same, and both contain the "best efforts" clause Astra Zeneca has used in an attempt to weasel out of its contractual commitments to the EU. But the real bombshell is that it appears that the UK contract was signed the day after the EU contract, and not 3 months before, as AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot has claimed.

AstraZeneca's vaccine contract with the UK is based on 'best efforts,' just like its deal with a frustrated EU

AstraZeneca's contract to supply the UK with 100 million Covid-19 vaccine doses commits it to making "best reasonable efforts," the same language used in its deal with the European Union, which critics blamed for the bloc's faltering inoculation program.

The details of the contract are contained in a redacted version published online without fanfare months ago, long before the UK and the EU became embroiled in a bitter dispute over vaccine supply.

British officials had earlier declined to provide the contract to CNN, making no mention of the redacted version, and have repeatedly refused to give details on the country's vaccine supplies, citing "security reasons." A junior UK government minister said in a recent interview that publishing the contract would risk national security.

Yet in response to a Freedom of Information request from CNN, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) this week provided CNN a link to the redacted 52-page contract, which had been published on a website that hosts details of UK government contracts. Details like the number of doses to be delivered to the UK and the dates of delivery have been redacted.


The redacted contract has, technically, been publicly available since at least November 26, according to the date the page was last edited. BEIS this week confirmed the same date of publication to CNN. But the link is difficult to find on the government website without using precise search terms and it appears to have gone largely unnoticed.

European Union leaders and AstraZeneca engaged in a public war of words in late January after the company advised the 27-country union that it would deliver tens of millions fewer doses than agreed by the end of March. At the same time, it appeared to be making good on its deliveries to the UK, heightening tensions between Westminster and Brussels, fresh from their Brexit divorce.

The EU then published its own redacted agreement with AstraZeneca. A comparison between the two contracts is now possible.


AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot told Italy's La Repubblica at the time that its agreement with the EU was "not a contractual commitment. It's a best effort," referring to language used in their contract.

Its contract with the UK, however, also states that company only needs to make its "best reasonable efforts" to stick to the original agreed delivery schedule, which the company could "update and refine" when necessary. The agreement says the company must notify BEIS at least 30 days before each delivery with a "firm and final" schedule.

Where there may be a significant difference is in which markets the drug company is prioritizing. Soriot confirmed to La Repubblica that his company had agreed to supply the UK before other markets, saying it was "fair enough" because the UK had reached an agreement with AstraZeneca earlier than the EU. But the UK's official contract is actually dated August 28, one day after the EU's contract.


AstraZeneca's contract with the EU is essentially the same as the UK's in terms of language, with some differences to reflect that the EU was procuring on behalf of 27 nations, according to David Greene, a senior partner at the law firm Edwin Coe, who has read the two redacted contracts, and has not seen the unredacted versions.

"There are many similarities between these two contracts, including the best reasonable efforts terms. It's hardly surprising because they were made at the same time," he said.

He explained that the term "Best Reasonable Efforts" was essentially an escape clause to offer some legal protection to AstraZeneca in the event it could not deliver to its agreed schedule.

"However, what they can't do, on the face of it, is choose one contracting party over another. So they can't say to the EU 'I'm not going to deliver to you because I'm going to deliver to the UK,' and similar. That's always been the case."

If all of this is true, the real question which arises is why Astra Zeneca is prioritising its UK market before the EU. Given it is a UK headquartered firm it is possible that some behind the scenes sweeteners were offered to management, which could explain the "national security" excuses given for not releasing the unredacted contract.

However the decision to prioritise the UK could have long term implications for Astra Zeneca and EU UK relations.

Firstly the efficacy of the Astra Zeneca Vaccine has been reported at only 60% compared to 95% for the Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines, leading Irish healthcare staff to question why they are being given a less efficient vaccine.

Secondly the efficacy of the Astra Zeneca Vaccine against the English, South African and Brazilian variants is being increasingly questioned.

Thirdly, there is increasing resistance to being vaccinated with the Astra Zeneca vaccine because its side-effects are reported as being much more common and severe than previously reported.
Scepticism over Oxford vaccine threatens Europe's immunisation push

The vaccine, subject of an acrimonious tug-of-war between its British-Swedish manufacturer and the European commission last month, is being described by German media as a "shelf warmer" as only about 17% of doses delivered to the country have been administered so far.

According to the German disease control agency's monitoring, 129,021 doses of a delivered 736,800 had been administered by Thursday this week


Side-effects that can follow a shot of the Oxford-developed vaccine, which were reported in clinical trials, are also causing logistical problems in its use among medics.

Karl-Dieter Heller, the director of the Herzogin Elisabeth hospital in Braunschweig, told Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper that he had decided to vaccinate his staff only in smaller groups and on Fridays, after 40% of one group called in sick with flu-like symptoms after receiving their jab on a Thursday.

Heller said none of his staff had fallen seriously ill and all were able to return to work on the Monday after.

Other countries have reported similar problems. In Sweden's Sörmland and Gävleborg regions, health authorities temporarily paused vaccinations after a quarter of workers injected with the AstraZeneca shot called in sick the following day, but added the programme would resume with the same vaccine the following week.

In south-west France, a hospital in Périgueux asked in an open letter that the AstraZeneca vaccine be replaced with shots from Moderna and BioNTech/Pfizer after 50% to 70% of injected staff experienced side-effects.

At a general hospital in the Austrian capital, Vienna, 500 members of staff signed a protest letter after finding out they would receive the AstraZeneca shot rather than the BioNTech/Pfizer one.

What is being forgotten in all this controversy is that much of the UK's lead in vaccinations is based on it having earlier access to the Pfizer Biontech vaccine manufactured in Belgium thanks to its use of the emergency authorisation procedure to licence its use before the EU.

However if the WHO recommendation to prioritise the vaccination of high exposure and high vulnerability populations before the general population is to be heeded, Belgium and the EU could be justified in halting the further export of the Pfizer vaccine until all its high exposure and vulnerability population have been vaccinated.

The UK could continue its vaccination programme with the Astra Zeneca vaccine, but that company's failure to deliver on its EU contract would then matter much less. After all, if it is "national security" considerations which have been at the forefront of the UK's vaccination effort, the EU could be justified in apply similar considerations to its own vaccination programme.

UK spokespeople continue to come out with guff about being smaller, faster and nimbler in rolling out its vaccination programme post Brexit, but it appears the real reason for their being able to get a head start is a murky, behind the scenes deal with Astra Zeneca.

With doubts about the Astra Zeneca vaccine increasing, the EU might be well advised to let the UK keep its almost exclusive access to their Astra Zeneca supplies and retain the Pfizer vaccine for their own use. The longer term message for the EU, is never rely on outside supply chains for critical supplies, particularly where outside powers might invoke "national security" as a reason for restricting availability.

Meanwhile, it's been reported that the opening offer from Biontech/Pfizer to the EU was 54 Euros per dose!? Prefaced with a spiel about 'value' pricing: 'EU is losing more than a billion a day in economic activity due to the pandemic. Therefore this is a good value!'

Maybe I'm just ignorant and these kinds of pitches are commonplace but maybe this kind of highway robber pricing (do you value your money or your life?) is the reason why standard products like insulin have become unaffordable in the US.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Sun Feb 21st, 2021 at 07:04:39 PM EST
That's why Pfizer opted out of Trump's Operation Warp Speed ...

Did Pfizer put profit first?

by Oui on Sun Feb 21st, 2021 at 07:14:16 PM EST
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EU countries report offers for 900 million COVID vaccines by 'alleged intermediaries': anti-fraud body
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Several European Union countries have reported offers from "alleged intermediaries" for 900 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for some 12.7 billion euros, the bloc's anti-fraud agency OLAF said on Thursday.

OLAF opened an inquiry earlier this month into scam vaccine offers, underlining how fraudsters have sought to capitalise on a botched EU inoculation campaign against COVID-19 that is hampering the bloc's economic recovery.

"OLAF received information from several EU member states about offers of COVID-19 vaccines by alleged intermediaries," the agency's press office said in a statement sent to Reuters.

"To date, all these different offers together represent over 900 million vaccine doses for a total asking price of roughly 12.7 billion euros ($15.53 billion)."

Pharmaceutical companies that manufacture vaccines against the coronavirus say they only sell directly to governments.

by Bernard on Thu Feb 25th, 2021 at 07:09:49 PM EST
Dutch facility provided vaccines for the United Kingdom ...

MEPs grill AstraZeneca's CEO Soriot over COVID vaccine delivery delays

MEPs directed their anger at AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot as they sought greater clarity on vaccine deliveries and explanations for ongoing shortages.

On Thursday the anger from the dispute was still palpable in the questioning from MEPs, who directed the majority of inquiries -- as well as the harshest tone -- towards Soriot.

But the executive stuck to his script and delivered technical answers focused on the specificities of vaccine production.

'How is it possible you have no clue?'

The grilling began with Dutch MEP Esther de Lange, from the European People's Party, who matter-of-factly asked Soriot whether the company had pre-existing contracts that linked EU-based production to the British supply of doses.

De Lange also wanted to know why AstraZeneca announced such significant cuts to its EU deliveries given the similarities between the EU and UK contracts.

"Did you knowingly enter into contractual obligations you knew you could not deliver on to all parties?" she asked.

Soriot argued the UK government had become interested in the vaccine candidate "very early on" and offered money to fund its development and also its production in the UK and the Netherlands.

by Oui on Thu Feb 25th, 2021 at 07:42:39 PM EST
Ursula von der Leyen issues Covid vaccine export warning at EU summit | The Guardian |

Commission head reassures leaders she will ban vaccines leaving EU if suppliers fail to deliver again.

Ursula von der Leyen has reassured EU leaders she will ban coronavirus vaccines from leaving the EU if suppliers such as AstraZeneca fail to deliver again, as she faced questions over her handling of shortages.

The European commission president's pledge at a virtual summit came as leaders issued a statement promising to "accelerate the provision of vaccines", with just 8% of the adult population having received a jab compared with 27% in the UK.

"If companies don't fulfil their contractual obligations, yet do export, the commission may decide to make a move under the export regime," Von der Leyen told the heads of state and government during the private meeting, according to a senior diplomatic source.

@UrsulaVonDerLeyen "The measures in place across Europe are working."

Ursula didn't threaten to invoke Art.16 this time?

by Oui on Fri Feb 26th, 2021 at 04:56:11 AM EST
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by Oui on Fri Feb 26th, 2021 at 08:46:47 PM EST
by Oui on Fri Feb 26th, 2021 at 10:25:40 PM EST
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Why wait another 2 weeks if the evidence is so clear cut?

I presume manufacturing is already in full flow?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Feb 26th, 2021 at 11:09:11 PM EST
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Can't let the AstraZeneva vaccine doses go to waste now ... still refused in large numbers.
by Oui on Fri Feb 26th, 2021 at 11:55:52 PM EST
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Back here in Germany, the vaccination commission only recommends it for people younger than 65 due to "insufficient data". Which threw a wrench into the sequencing plan. Now they have to suddenly send out invitations to all eligible younger people much earlier than thought. Another delay!

These people still haven't gotten it into their heads that speed is paramount, not perfection. But fear not. The commission is about to recommend it for all adults with more data coming in...

The vaccination commission can decide on data alone but maybe some better communication next time?

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Sat Feb 27th, 2021 at 10:47:59 AM EST
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There'll be quite a few preventable deaths because of the delays, but 95% of our problems are at the level of manufacturing. Also, since I expect the period between having the highest risk group and everyone-who-is-anyone vaccinated and general availability to be the worst period of the pandemic for the working age population I have some mixed feelings about delays in distribution on a purely selfish level.
by generic on Sat Feb 27th, 2021 at 11:27:30 AM EST
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I'm not sure "supply is not the problem" but deliveries are ramping up. In some parts of Germany it's chaos because now they're vaccinating group 2 but no one (health insurance, public health, etc) knows anything because they're waiting for the politicians to make decisions.

Letting ordinary GPs do the vaccinations would be a good idea but they would have to change the vaccination decree!? But they have some "pilot projects" starting up in the near future...

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Sun Feb 28th, 2021 at 10:48:05 AM EST
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Supply is not the problem I write about a graph that shows no EU country got enough supply to vaccinate much more than 5% of it's population. What the chart looks to me is a two vaccine system that's not run on a just-in-time basis. France and the Netherlands look like they are having trouble with the roll-out, but if your policy is to priorities getting people fully vaxxed I'd expect something like a 30% float. Now given the numbers coming out of Israel there seems to be an argument for getting first doses out as soon as possible, but that's not a logistics problem.
by generic on Sun Feb 28th, 2021 at 11:11:00 AM EST
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Now given the numbers coming out of Israel there seems to be an argument for getting first doses out as soon as possible ...

Israel made a test lab deal with German BioNTech vaccines for delivery and provide all personal data as the jabs are given. Israel as first nation keeps strict the 21-day second job rule as prescribed!

by Oui on Sun Feb 28th, 2021 at 12:32:04 PM EST
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So it's the same. I was confused by the fortuitous "Johnson & Johnson by Janssen"

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Sat Feb 27th, 2021 at 10:59:53 AM EST
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... but the Janssen vaccine distributed and manufactured through Johnson & Johnson has been approved as 3rd vaccine through EUA by the FDA in the US!!

The two others are Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.

Bit confusing in tweet, but not an official FDA approval at this stage.

⚠️ ⁉️⁉️

by Oui on Sun Feb 28th, 2021 at 07:22:01 AM EST
by Oui on Tue Mar 2nd, 2021 at 02:52:02 PM EST
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by Oui on Tue Mar 2nd, 2021 at 09:42:52 PM EST
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Korean AstraZeneca Vaccine Deaths Investigated

Still not approved for Emergency Use by the American FDA!

by Oui on Wed Mar 3rd, 2021 at 08:24:20 PM EST
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by Oui on Tue Mar 2nd, 2021 at 05:53:29 PM EST
by Oui on Tue Mar 2nd, 2021 at 06:39:45 PM EST
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"We must prepare for further mutations and should no longer be dependent solely on the EU in the production of second-generation vaccines," [Kurtz] said.
I feel that omitting the "solely" from the statement is somewhat disingenuous.
by SchackMatt on Wed Mar 3rd, 2021 at 07:51:07 AM EST
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True, but the statement is not less daft for that. As far as I can see Israel failed at the vaccine development front so why would you work together with them on development? If I had to make a guess the Austrian government they wanted to buy Israel's excess Pfizer vaccines, but there weren't that many/ someone got there first and so they had to change the press release to this dubious nonsense.
by generic on Wed Mar 3rd, 2021 at 08:43:23 AM EST
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PM eyes turning Israel into 'global center in the fight against COVID-19' coronavirus ... an attack on 'Socialist' Europe ... in line with the US and Russia to break up the EU.

Netanyahu in talks with Pfizer, Moderna on setting up vaccine production in Israel | I24 News - Jan. 2021 |

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he was negotiating with key COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine manufacturers on setting up production in Israel.

In an interview with Israel's Channel 12, Netanyahu said talks were underway with Moderna and Pfizer.

"I am negotiating with them to build two factories in Israel - making us a global center in the fight against COVID-19," he said.

"The Moderna complex will be a center for filling vaccine vials, while Pfizer's will work as a research and development site for the fight against future viruses," he said.

Israeli Scientists Warn Pfizer CEO: Netanyahu May Exploit Your Visit for Election Campaign | Haaretz |

by Oui on Wed Mar 3rd, 2021 at 10:35:54 AM EST
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by Oui on Wed Mar 3rd, 2021 at 10:36:38 AM EST
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You know after thinking about it it's probably the other way around. Pfizer saved Netanyahu's ass and he wants to milk the vaccination campaign for all it's worth. So my bet is now that Denmark and Austria help him pretend that Israel is a "global center in the fight against COVID-19" as part of their play for Israel's excess doses (that they keep from the Palestinians).
by generic on Wed Mar 3rd, 2021 at 10:45:50 AM EST
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For Israel's allies, road to vaccines runs through Jerusalem | AP News |

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday acknowledged sharing coronavirus vaccines with a number of friendly countries that have given favors to Israel in the past. Although he did not identify the countries, a list obtained by an Israeli TV station suggested that a number of them have supported Israel's claim to the contested city of Jerusalem as its capital.

... Israel has accumulated an excess supply of hundreds of thousands of Moderna vaccines.

After determining that Israel has "more than enough" vaccines for its own population, he said he personally decided to share what he called a symbolic number of doses with some of Israel's allies.

[Source FT: The first three countries to receive thousands of doses will be Honduras, the Czech Republic and Guatemala ...]

Israel's AG slaps down Netanyahu's 'vaccine diplomacy | I24 News |

Israel will discuss the possibility of a COVID-19 vaccine venture with Austria and Denmark... SOON

    Netanyahu has made Israel's successful vaccine program, and what he has highlighted as his personal role in securing sufficient doses, a showcase of his campaign ...

No surprise ... ugly gangster practices, morally corrupt, close allied with Jared, Donald, Vladimir and Mohammed... for starters.

PS The Palestinian leaders over 75 have already received their jabs... nothing  out of the ordinary, nothing here to see.

by Oui on Wed Mar 3rd, 2021 at 04:24:52 PM EST
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How reliable is the FT? According to a comment on Naked Capitalism.
In the CZ the problem is not the lack of the vaccine, but the lack of the ability to deliver the vaccination. There's probably over 200k, possibly as many as 300k doses sitting there, not used. That is in a situation where there's something over 400k total first doses delivered, and about 200k second doses.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Mar 3rd, 2021 at 04:31:50 PM EST
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PM Netanyahu criticized by political rivals for not consulting with the public or the cabinet on sharing Israel's stock of vaccines.

Israel giving surplus COVID vaccines to Palestinians, Honduras, Czech Republic | Hayom |

The Czech Republic has received several thousand Moderna doses from Israel, Czech Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek told reporters on Tuesday. The donation comes after the European Union country's president and premier sent letters to Israel requesting vaccine help.

In December 2020, the Czech Republic said it would add a diplomatic presence to its Jerusalem office, a move short of opening a full embassy in the city.

    The central European country has long been one of Israel's steadiest supporters in the European Union and its president, Milos Zeman, has backed the idea of relocating the Czech embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. However, no steps have been taken. [Dec. 2, 2020]

Czech Republic opens embassy office in Jerusalem | March 1, 2021 |

by Oui on Wed Mar 3rd, 2021 at 05:37:50 PM EST
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Pfizer: Personal Netanyahu Knesset Campaign

by Oui on Thu Mar 4th, 2021 at 08:12:01 PM EST
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