AstraZeneca (LON:AZN) will provide the EU an extra 9 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to help resolve a supply dispute that also involves the U.K., according to media reports.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen yesterday described the agreement as a “step forward,” according to NPR. The extra doses bring the total amount of AstraZeneca vaccine slated for the EU in Q1 to 40 million — an improvement but still only half the original 80 million promised.
AstraZeneca found itself cutting coronavirus vaccine supplies for the EU after experiencing production problems at plants in Belgium and the Netherlands. The EU had demanded that AstraZeneca meet its obligations by shipping U.K.-made vaccine, but the British company had already promised the doses to its home country.
The BBC reports the dispute was heated enough that the European Commission even suggested setting up checks on the border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland to prevent COVID-19 vaccine produced in the EU from going to the U.K. — a proposal that ran against the goal of preventing Brexit from harming the Good Friday Agreement that has kept Ireland mostly at peace since the late 1990s.