The European Union has decided against the option to buy 100 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and has considered donating another 100 million optional shots if they’re ordered.
European officials who had direct knowledge of contracts with vaccine makers told Reuters that the EU let the term to order 100 million extra doses to lapse at the end of March.
According to the contract, the EU had ordered 200 million doses of the vaccine with options to buy another 200 million.
The deadline for the second option for the remaining 100 million doses will expire at the end of June, however, no decision has yet been made about whether to exercise this option.
Governments have expressed concerns over the J&J vaccine delays as the pharmaceutical company committed to delivering 55 million doses to the EU by the end of June but has so far only delivered 12 million doses.
Millions of the J&J vaccine deliveries have been halted for weeks by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for a safety assessment following cases of contamination at a factory ran by J&J in the United States.
Johnson & Johnson, which declined to comment on the supply issues, has also suspended deliveries to the EU amid reports of serious blood clots.
According to internal estimates, the EU has secured enough vaccines from other suppliers to inoculate its adult population in the summer.
The EU is also considering to order optional J&J vaccines with intentions to donate them to poorer countries as the EU has pledged to donate at least 100 million vaccine doses by the end of the year.