EU paying full price for AstraZeneca vaccine -EU health official

BRUSSELS, Feb 1 (Reuters) - The European Union is paying a price similar to that of Britain for the AstraZeneca Plc vaccine, a senior EU health official said on Monday, after an uproar over a shortfall of doses and concerns that the bloc has negotiated a worse deal than rivals.

Sandra Gallina, director-general for health at the European Commission, answered a series of questions from EU lawmakers, with AstraZeneca vaccine deliveries set to be only 25-30% of what had been expected in the first quarter.

Gallina denied, however, that the Commission, which negotiated vaccine orders on behalf of the 27-nation EU, had prioritised price over securing vaccines. Some EU lawmakers suggested the EU appeared to be paying less than Britain per dose. A tweet by a Belgian politician in December put the price for AstraZeneca at 1.78 euros.

“Our price will be fully comparable with that of the UK,” she told the budget committee of the European Parliament.

Gallina said there were two parts to the price: a downpayment by the bloc and the specific price then paid by individual EU countries.

“The full price for AstraZeneca is not 1.78 (euros),” she said. (Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels Editing by Matthew Lewis)