Speaking to Reuters, an anonymous EU official said: “The British are insisting that the Halix plant in the Netherlands must deliver the drug substance produced there to them. It does not work. ”
The factory, based in the Dutch city of Leiden, is run by a subcontractor called Halix and is responsible for supplying AstraZeneca’s contracts with Britain and the EU, reports Reuters.
“What is produced at Halix has to go to the EU,” the EU official said.
“The European Commission will know that the rest of the world is watching the Commission, how it behaves about it, and if contracts are broken and commitments are broken, it is a very damaging thing for a trade bloc that prides itself on the rules of right, ”British Defense Minister Ben Wallace said on Sunday in response to reports that European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen had threatened to block shipments to Britain.
The EU had previously threatened to block exports of the AstraZeneca vaccine to the UK, with Von der Leyen saying the situation in Europe was worsening.
However, the EU official fired back, telling Reuters that no contract had been broken.
Reuters notes that although the AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved for use in the EU, approval for Halix has not yet been received. Documents obtained by the outlet show that Halix expects to receive approval by Thursday.
According to the most recent report from the British National Health Service, 20,661,496 people have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, representing 45.4% of the UK population over 16 years of age.
The dispute comes shortly after several European countries temporarily halted administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine over fears it may have caused blood clots. Countries like Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland and Norway have all suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine pending a recommendation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
On Thursday, the EMA announced that it had found the AstraZeneca vaccine to be safe and effective, although it could not rule out a link between the injection and blood clots. The EMA said the benefits of the shot far outweighed the potential risks.
“Our scientific position is that this vaccine is a safe and effective option to protect citizens against COVID-19,” said EMA Executive Director Emer Cooke. “We have made this review our top priority. ”