Vaccine manufacturer Valneva said on Wednesday it will “deprioritise” its talks with the EU and switch to individual conversations with governments over supplies of its Covid vaccine to Europe. On Thursday, the European Commission said Valneva had not met the conditions to conclude talks on a vaccine deal with the bloc. The UK already has a contract with Valneva, along with several other vaccine candidates currently waiting for approval. The Valneva Covid vaccine, of which the UK has already ordered 100 million doses, will be made in Livingston, West Lothian in Scotland.
Why have talks with Valneva stalled?
The European Commission announced this week discussions with Valneva over vaccine supply to the bloc had reached a stalemate.
A spokesman for the European Commission said: “When companies want their vaccines to be integrated in our vaccines portfolio, a certain set of conditions has to be respected.”
The spokesman said among the conditions are “solid protection in the areas of liability safety, effectiveness of the vaccine and also solid rules and arrangements for the delivery of the vaccines”.
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The spokesman added: “After a year of negotiations the company has not, at this stage, succeeded to meet these conditions, which is one of the reasons why we have not yet reached an agreement.”
Valneva chief executive Thomas Lingelbach said the company had not made “meaningful progress” with the EU in vaccine supply discussions.
Mr Lingelbach said: “We’ve committed significant time and effort to try to meet the needs of the central procurement process.
“Despite our recent clinical data, we have not made meaningful progress.
“We are now concentrating our efforts on EU member states and interested parties outside the EU.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced this month the EU will not be using AstraZeneca in future vaccine campaigns.
Earlier this year, Ms von der Leyen acknowledged there were failures with the EU’s vaccine rollout programme.
The EU was criticised for its delays in approving vaccines for use and authorising contracts too slowly with vaccine companies.
Ms von der Leyen said: “We were late to authorise. We were too optimistic when it came to massive production and perhaps too confident that what we ordered would actually be delivered on time.”
The EU vaccine rollout programme also faced significant problems due to rare reports of blood clots in recipients of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Several countries paused the rollout of the AstraZeneca jab and now a number of EU member states have implemented age restrictions on who can receive the vaccine.
As of April 22, 2021, at least one Covid vaccine dose has been given to 23.1 percent of adults in EU member states.
Only 8.5 percent of the population of EU member states have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
In total, 115,446,799 vaccine doses have been administered across the EU member states.
In comparison, the UK is dramatically ahead of the EU with its vaccine rollout programme.
To date, more than 33 million first vaccine doses have been administered, while almost 11 million have received their second dose.
As of April 20, 62.9 percent of the UK adult population had received their first vaccine dose.
More than a fifth of the population (20.5 percent) had received their second vaccine dose by this date as well.