DHSC to extend gap on Oxford vaccine delivery

Seychelles to increase interval between Covishield doses following new recommendation

In a subsequent statement on Tuesday, the company said its "most recent Q2 forecast for the delivery of its COVID-19 vaccine aims to deliver in line with its contract with the European Commission". It was also due to deliver 30 million doses in the last quarter of 2020 but did not supply any shots previous year as its vaccine had yet to be approved by the EU.

A spokesman for the British drugs group told AFP AstraZeneca was "working to increase productivity in its European Union supply chain" and would use its "global capability in order to achieve delivery of 180 million doses to the European Union in the second quarter".

"Closing the gap in supplies in the third quarter might be unrealistic", the official said, adding that figures on deliveries had been changed by the company many times.

Iceland was the very first nation in Europe to issue vaccine certificates, creating their own document in late January.

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said a big challenge is to improve yield - the number of doses that can be extracted from a liter of vaccine.

"Our teams are absolutely stretched to the maximum". He said people are afraid because they aren't aware of what the vaccine is exactly.

Vietnam has four domestic Covid-19 vaccines under development by Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC, the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals, Vaccine and Biological Production Company No. 1 and the Center for Research and Production of Vaccines and Biologicals.

Soriot came under fire after he confirmed that the company would deliver less than half the vaccines it had committed to in the first quarter.

It was made clear though that these certificates will not be granted to people who got infected but only to people who got vaccinated with EU-approved jabs.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen told the German regional daily Augsburger Allgemeine that, despite the friction with AstraZeneca, "vaccine manufacturers are our partners in this pandemic".

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Still, despite the slow vaccine rollout in Europe, delayed by nearly a month compared to former member the United Kingdom, von der Leyen said the bloc still aims to inoculate 70% of all adults - around 255 million people - by September.

"This is a goal that we are confident we will reach", she said. They also agreed that measures taken by each member, including curfews or restricions on non-essential cross-border travel, need to be maintained.

Dr. Dormitzer and Dr. Gilbert also played down concerns that their vaccines and others won't work against a new variant first detected in South Africa. This means that restrictions could well continue through coming months.

"There is growing COVID fatigue among our citizens", she said. "But we should not let up now".

Greece, Spain and Italy support the system, however northern European Union partners, like Germany, doubt whether the certificates would work.

Earlier this month, AstraZeneca said it expected to make more than 200 million doses per month globally by April, double February's level, as it works to expand global capacity and productivity.

"The most important question remains whether you can still transmit the disease".

Setting out the World Health Organization stance, the interim position paper states: 'At the present time, it is WHO's position that national authorities and conveyance operators should not introduce requirements of proof of COVID-19 vaccination for global travel as a condition for departure or entry'.

Europe is also rolling out the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, but so far the region is behind the leading countries in the race to vaccinate as many people as possible.

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