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[Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash]

Reports from Italy claim that the European Union Commission won’t renew COVID-19 vaccine contracts next year with AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

According to Reuters, Italian outlet La Stampa reported that sources from the Italian health ministry have said the commission does not want to pursue contract renewals with those two companies once those encompassing the current year expire, with Brussels reportedly emphasizing its focus on mRNA vaccines like those produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.

The report quoted an EU Commission spokesperson as saying the commission is keeping all options open to prepare for the next stages of the pandemic, but it can’t comment on contractual matters.

Later on today, the EU Commission president stated that the EU was in talks with Pfizer and BioNTech over a new contract for 1.8 billion doses as well, Reuters reported.

News of the potential for Europe to avoid renewing contracts with J&J and AstraZeneca follows a number of issues surrounding both vaccines, as the EU still seeks clarification from J&J on its announced delays in vaccine deliveries to Europe, according to Reuters.

The companies have also faced questions over safety with their vaccines, with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) last week finding a link between AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine and rare reports of blood clots and the U.S. earlier this week pausing use of the J&J COVID-19 vaccine after six cases of rare blood clots, one of which resulted in a death.