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BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Johnson & Johnson on Monday began delivering its COVID-19 single-dose vaccine to EU countries, European Union officials and the company said.
The company had initially planned to start its deliveries at the beginning of April, but delayed the rollout due to production issues.
“The first doses are leaving warehouses for member states today,” a European Commission spokesman told a news conference on Monday.
“Johnson & Johnson begins vaccine shipments to the EU today. Very good news,” said Peter Liese, an EU lawmaker from the same party as German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The U.S. company has committed to delivering 55 million doses to the EU by the end of June and another 120 million in the third quarter, EU industry commissioner Thierry Breton said this month.
“Most recently, it was unclear whether that promise would be kept. However, 50 million doses are certain” for the second quarter, Liese said, noting he received this information from the company and from the European Commission, which coordinates talks with vaccine makers.
A spokeswoman for Johnson & Johnson confirmed that it began deliveries on Monday to EU countries, Norway and Iceland, but declined to comment on supplies for April and the second quarter.
It said it aimed to deliver 200 million doses in 2021 to the EU, Norway and Iceland.
(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; editing by Jason Neely and Bernadette Baum)