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COVID-19: 'Highly probable' that the EU won't renew its AstraZeneca contract, says French minister

Hesitancy over the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has grown after a potential link was found to rare blood clots
Hesitancy over the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has grown after a potential link was found to rare blood clots Copyright Alvaro Barrientos/AP
Copyright Alvaro Barrientos/AP
By Rachael Kennedy with AFP
Published on Updated
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France's industry minister said on Friday that while a final decision was yet to be made, it was "highly probable" the EU wouldn't renew its contract for the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID vaccine.

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The likelihood that the European Union will renew its COVID vaccine contract with AstraZeneca is very low, according to France's industry minister.

Agnes Pannier-Runacher told BFM-TV on Friday that final decisions were yet to be made, but that she believed it "highly probable" the bloc would not place any more orders.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has repeatedly said the benefits of the UK-developed vaccine far outweigh any risks - in reference to the potential link found to rare blood clots - however, individual countries have been seen to follow their own course.

On Thursday, Denmark was the first country to completely abandon the AstraZeneca jab, while Norway later followed suit.

Countries such as Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain have restricted use to specific age groups, but none have gone as far to write it off completely.

It's not just AstraZeneca sensing trouble; the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which uses similar methods, has also had its rollout delayed due to similar concerns over clots.

"We have not started talks with Johnson & Johnson or with AstraZeneca for a new contract, but we have started talks with Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna," Pannier-Runacher told RMC radio.

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