No competing obligations based on which supply chains and which projected production capacities planned at the time?
Exactly. From the APA: "Par 5.1. Initial Europe Doses. Astra Zeneaca shall use its best reasonable efforts to manufacture the initial Europe doses within the EU
". In black and bleeding white. So there clearly were no "competing obligations" to that supply chain, at least. Sadly, I've found our "MEGA" friends are somewhat allergic to discussing the text of the contract.
They also get to keep the tax payer funded production capacity, at least i can not find any indication those go back into government property later.
You are aware that AZ subcontracts all the EU production don't you? The main facility at Seneffe is owned by a French company - recently bought by an American one if i recall.
I would happily get AZ if i could, and i was and am in favor of reducing exports to the level of the US and the UK or exporting only to countries without domestic vaccine production or those that have an equally generous export regiment.
You should be delighted with the export levels. Really. The EU went into vaccine negotiations viewing them as commercial transactions. They wanted the lowest price, least liability on member states, and for domestic supply chains to be built up. They got what they wanted - you have a trade surplus in vaccines
. Jobs in Belgium and Spain. But this was a choice - you could have opted to invest in scaling up existing supply chains outside the EU.
But what if you we're to add extra restrictions on the outflow of vaccines? There's long term effects on your pharmaceutical industry - it will be seen as unreliable in a crisis. India, China and Russia have proven the reliable partners and their soft power - particularly in the global south - has been enhanced.
But vaccines aren't produced in a single factory - there's a whole supply chain, from vials to adjuvants. Disrupt that and you slow down global production - each nation needing it's own vertical slices of prodction capability, with all the inefficiencies that entails. So take the US export ban - SI in India have said that the hoarding of some raw ingredients is slowing down their Novavax production (yes, they make that too).
And then there's knowledge. Not as tangible but equally if not more important. That's the UK's principle contribution. Last I heard we do 50% of the worlds genetic sequencing, down from 70% at the start of the crisis - vital work. They will be working with curevac to exploit this expertise in version 2 of their vaccine, to address variants. A disproportionate amount of trials were done here - and continue to be done.Lots of other work is ongoing. I have my name down for vaccine trials (never called) but they send out a newsletter. One came today, and listed some interesting stuff:
"Studies are underway or planned on:
• new vaccines, so that there are enough vaccines to protect everyone
• special groups such as pregnant women, children and young adults, and those with a weakened immune system
• how best to use existing vaccines, looking at dose of vaccine, the interval between giving the first and second doses, and whether the brand/type of vaccine given for first and second doses makes a difference to effectiveness
• giving flu vaccine at the same time as the Covid vaccine
• booster vaccines or third doses
• vaccines against new variants of Covid."
It also mentions challenge trials - we're (healthy, young) people are deliberately given a dose of covid (they're currently fine tuning the dose).
The point is - what if nations start making this sort of data proprietary? If this is part of what the UK brings to the table, if it counts for nothing, why bother? We really need more sharing of data - and less "not invented here" attitude towards "foreign" data. I really think vaccines have been the good news story of this horrible affair, but the rise of protectionism, in the EU and the US, has been a disappointing aspect of it. Both I understand, to a point. The situation when Biden took office wasn't great, and he had to take action. But there will be consequences of that long term. These events are expected to become more frequent, and I fear next time international cooperation will not be as impressive.