Perhaps it was this email that motivated the Minister of Health of the Nation Carla Vizzotti to travel together with the presidential advisor Cecilia Nicolini towards Great Britain with one central goal: to meet with AstraZeneca’s Executive Vice President Menelaos Pangalos.
The one in mid-July was a meeting with a tense calm, in which the official raised “the importance of strengthening the fulfillment of the contract” and expressed her concern for the delays in delivery of doses that that laboratory produces with the University of Oxford.
It is that before leaving for the Old Continent, the minister had in her possession an unknown information until this Wednesday: the details of the AstraZeneca’s second delivery schedule, a new estimate for the provision of doses to replace the original, which contemplated the delivery of 22.4 million sera for July, which was never met. The data was detected by the Justice when analyzing the thousands of emails that were exchanged by officials of the National Ministry of Health and the directors of AstraZeneca. The reading of these emails is carried out within the framework of the case investigating the alleged breach of contract by the international company. The Julián Ercolini court is in charge of the file and the prosecutor Guillermo Marijuán intervenes.
In one of those emails, they discovered that in response to a specific request from Vizzotti, AstraZeneca reported that all doses could be delivered between May and November 2021, namely, four months later than anticipated in the original preliminary schedule. So far the country has received 9,941,100 doses of the 22,400,000 that the contract contemplates. This new logistics forecast that TN.com.ar It reveals was unknown since the Government refuses to hand over this information, protecting itself in the confidentiality clauses.
This new preliminary delivery schedule establishes the following batch forecast:
- May: between 2,700,000 and 4,500,000 doses.
- June: between 2,400,000 and 3,900,000 doses.
- July: between 3,300,000 and 3,900,000 doses.
- August: between 2,900,000 and 3,400,000 doses.
- September: between 3,300,000 and 3,700,000 doses.
- October: between 2,500,000 and 2,700,000 doses.
- November: between 500,000 and 2,600,000 doses.
Unlike the first of the delivery schedules, in which fixed quantities of vaccines had been established between March and July 2021 (the 22.4 million had to be in the country for that month), this time the laboratory provides a kind of minimum and maximum to send per month.
By way of example, in May 2,991,600 sera from this firm arrived in Argentina, so the plan was effectively fulfilled, while in June there was a peculiarity: the company sent more than promised, about 4,065,700 serums. But nevertheless, in July non-compliances were detected againAs only 2,883,200 vaccines arrived when AstraZeneca had said it could deliver between 3.3 and 3.9 million. For August, between 2.9 and 3.4 million serums are expected.
In her testimony as a witness, Minister Vizzotti argued regarding the first of the delivery schedules that it was “preliminary or tentative”, but then warned that it “was established to be fulfilled within the first semester of 2021, as established in the clause “6.1. Delivery”. The official added that “that is the supply window foreseen by the laboratory and accepted by Argentina.” Now TN.com.ar reveals that this new delivery forecast leads to November the total fulfillment of the contract.
That AstraZeneca finishes sending the doses in November is not a minor detail if one takes into account that this afternoon the Ministry of Health of the Nation, together with authorities of the City and the Province will announce the result of the vaccine combination study to supplant the lack of component 2 of Sputnik V. In this sense, one of the sera that was part of the analysis is that of AstraZeneca, which would have yielded good results in safety and antibodies when injected as a second dose of those who already have an application of the Russian serum. The later the laboratory sends the batches, the fewer vaccines there will be to combine with those developed by the Gamaleya Institute.
TN.com.ar contacted AstraZeneca authorities to obtain more information regarding this delivery estimate. The authorities responded with a statement (official statement) in which they affirmed that the schedule is subject to production issues, logistical aspects and regulatory approvals. In other words, the firm realizes that it cannot ensure that this new delivery estimate will be met.
“Regarding the estimated delivery schedule shared by the company, AstraZeneca continues to inform the corresponding authorities on a regular basis about its update, which is subject, among others, to considerations related to the production process, yields, logistics and regulatory approvals. AstraZeneca maintains its commitment to deliver 22.4 million doses this year as agreed with the Argentine government ”.
The case seeks to determine whether AstraZeneca signed the contract and collected nearly $ 54 million in advance despite knowing in advance that he was not going to be able to comply with what was agreed. As this medium was able to learn from judicial sources, the analysis of the emails sent by the laboratory does not emerge – for the moment – elements that feed this hypothesis. So far what has been observed is a breach of the contract by the international firm, which does not constitute a criminal offense. The contract is for a total of $ 89.7 million.
On the last week of June, a raid was carried out at the offices that AstraZeneca has in Buenos Aires, but no employee, documentation or computer was found. The firm’s contractors would work remotely. The laboratory authorities classified the procedure as “disconcerting” by ensuring that from the beginning of the judicial process “they consistently demonstrated a predisposition to collaborate with the authorities’ requirements.”
The active principle of this serum is produced in Argentina, in the mAbxience laboratory, from Hugo Sigman, which is then sent to Mexico for packaging. The agreement that the Ministry of Health signed for the vaccines is not with Sigman, but with AstraZeneca UK Limited, which then outsources production in these two.
This medium contacted the Ministry of Health of the Nation to find out if that portfolio had accepted this estimate of deliveries or if it had required that logistics be streamlined, but did not receive a response.