Spain will play a central role in the last production phase of the British AstraZeneza AZD1222 vaccine, that has been developed in the UK.
The multinational has announced the signing of an agreement with the Spanish group Insud Pharma whereby the latter will produce the vials and fill and package the ampoules of this formula, which will be the third to be distributed in the European Union, after Pfizer-BionTech and Moderna.
Production will begin this February at the Insud plant in the town of Azuqueca de Henares, in Guadalajara.
Spain’s Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, said this will significantly help the distribution of the AstraZeneca vaccine across the country.
Insud Pharma, which has been dedicated to the development and research of drugs for more than 40 years, has six plants in Spain. The Azuqueca facility is a state-of-the-art plant, opened in 2017, and dedicated to injectable drugs and sterile products.
Enough to immunise 53 million people
On 12 January, AstraZeneca formally applied to the European regulator for authorisation to market its vaccine. The regulator is likely to give scientific approval, probably before 29 January, that will be accompanied almost immediately by the commercial green light from the European Commission.
Last August the European Commission closed a contract with AstraZeneca to buy 300 million doses of the vaccine, developed in collaboration with the University of Oxford, with an option to purchase another 100 million.
According to the agreement Spain will receive a tenth of the injectables, about 30 million ampoules, enough to immunise 15 million people, since the AstraZeneca vaccine, like the Pfizer and Moderna alternatives needs two doses for maximum immunity.
With the arrival of the AstraZeneca vaccine Spain would be allocated a total of 106 million jabs, enough to immunise 53 million people, six million more than the country's population.