Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) has cut its vaccine dose deliveries to France and Italy dealing another blow to the EU’s struggling COVID-19 vaccination efforts.
Italy and France to receive fewer Moderna vaccine doses
Italian special commissioner for pandemic response, Domenico Arcuri said that the company had informed Rome that from early February its will deliver 20% fewer doses than planned. Also, France’s Health Ministry indicated that they expect 25% fewer doses from Moderna than anticipated from early February.
Moderna’s vaccine supply cuts are the latest disruptions that have left the vaccination efforts in the EU in disarray. AstraZeneca also indicated that in the first quarter it will supply only half the vaccines the EU had ordered.
This provoked a clash regarding contractual terms with Italian PM, Guiseppe Conte accusing AstraZeneca of a contractual violation. Guiseppe said that the reduction in deliveries was unexpected and Italy was considering taking legal action against the company. Following the dispute, The European Commission went ahead and published a redacted company of the advanced purchase agreement or supply contract.
Arcuri said on Friday that the forecasted deliveries are changing almost every day. He emphasized Italy’s disappointment, concern, and astonishment regarding the cuts on vaccine deliveries. Moderna told Arcuri that they will deliver 132,000 vaccine doses from the week commencing February 9 rather than the 166,000 doses the government was expecting.
Delays in vaccine delivery hampering vaccination efforts
On the other hand, France’s health ministry said that it expects around 600,000 vaccine doses in February rather than the 800,000 doses it had anticipated. Already, Pfizer/BioNTech has cut vaccine deliveries to France by 200,000 doses from the initial commitment of 2.6 million doses. Authorities in France have instructed health facilities to delay the first COVID-19 vaccine injection for up to four weeks to preserve doses for individuals needing the second and final shot.
Besides Italy and France, Spain’s Catalonia, Valencia, Andalucia, and Madrid regions have raised concerns about delays in Moderna vaccine deliveries. The Spanish minister for health said that they expect 52, 000 Moderna vaccine doses in the coming week. So far, Spain has received 35,700 doses from Moderna.