Officials have not confirmed publicly how big the shortfall will be, but an unnamed European Union official told Reuters news agency that deliveries would be reduced to 31m - a cut of 60% - in the first quarter of this year. A spokesman for the European Commission said that AstraZeneca confirmed a "change of its delivery schedule" and that the commission was working to find out more details.
British pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca warned Friday that supplies of its coronavirus vaccine to Europe will be "lower than originally anticipated" due to reduced production at a manufacturing site.
And Norway, which is not part of the European Union, said Friday night it would receive less than 200,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in February, well below the 1.12 million it expected. Novasep was not immediately available to comment.
Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner for health and food safety has expressed "deep dissatisfaction" at the news.
Authorities in Germany's most populous state said that due to delays in delivery of the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine they would halt first vaccinations.
'The EU Commission will continue to insist with AstraZeneca on measures to increase predictability and stability of deliveries, and acceleration of the distribution of doses'.
Mali has chosen to use the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in its plan to initially immunise 4.2 million people, targeting medical staff, the elderly and those with comorbidities, the health minister said on Friday.
Regulators in Britain and several other countries have already given the vaccine the green light. But people familiar with the talks said the company may not provide even half of that amount, although they stressed that final numbers had not been made.
The firm said previous year it had agreed with the European Commission to supply up to 400 million doses.
The AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine is expected to receive approval from the European Medicines Agency this week, and any delay or shortage of doses could be a significant speed bump as member states race to vaccinate their populations amid a worsening COVID-19 crisis.
The Oxford /AstraZeneca vaccine is seen to be key to efforts to control coronavirus because it is cheaper to produce and can be stored at fridge temperature and the Dutch vaccination strategy largely revolves around it.
The vast majority of the production of the three most widely approved COVID vaccines, including the AstraZeneca drug, has so far been hoovered up by developed nations.