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Why a Top European Official Is Warning to Avoid AstraZeneca's COVID Vaccine

By Keith Speights and Brian Orelli, PhD - Jun 29, 2021 at 6:15AM

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The big drugmaker now faces another challenge for its COVID-19 vaccine.

AstraZeneca (AZN -0.39%) has hit quite a few speed bumps in commercializing its COVID-19 vaccine. The latest problem for the company is that a top European official is warning to avoid AstraZeneca's vaccine altogether if another alternative is available. In this Motley Fool Live video recorded on June 16, Motley Fool contributors Keith Speights and Brian Orelli discuss the concern with AstraZeneca's vaccine and what it means for the company's rivals.

Keith Speights: A top European Medicines Agency official has publicly stated that it's best for the European Union to avoid using AstraZeneca's COVID vaccine if there are any alternatives available. What's the issue here with this warning from this top EMA official? What does this mean for AstraZeneca's rivals in the COVID vaccine market?

Brian Orelli: This is definitely good news for Moderna (MRNA -3.78%) and Pfizer (PFE -1.18%) and BioNTech (BNTX 1.48%). Marco Cavaleri, who's the EMA's head of vaccine strategy, was the person that was quoted here.

I think basically, it just comes back to the blood-clotting issue that AstraZeneca's vaccine has seen. I think there's probably some politics in play here, too, because AstraZeneca's a British company and obviously with Brexit.

They left the EU. Maybe that's playing into it a little bit, and of course, the EU has sued AstraZeneca over delayed delivery of its vaccines. Either way, it should result in increased contracts for the mRNA vaccines and definitely it's not good news for AstraZeneca, although it wasn't really planning on making a profit on the vaccine. It probably isn't that much of a financial hit to AstraZeneca.

Speights: Yeah. I totally agree with what you just said. If I had to vote for the candidate to win biggest loser in the COVID vaccine market thus far, AstraZeneca gets my vote. The company, it was really seen as an early leader and has stumbled in multiple ways.

Brian Orelli, PhD has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Keith Speights owns shares of Pfizer. The Motley Fool recommends Moderna Inc. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

AstraZeneca PLC Stock Quote
AstraZeneca PLC
AZN
$66.03 (-0.39%) $0.26
Pfizer Inc. Stock Quote
Pfizer Inc.
PFE
$49.27 (-1.18%) $0.59
Moderna, Inc. Stock Quote
Moderna, Inc.
MRNA
$186.84 (-3.78%) $-7.34
BioNTech SE Stock Quote
BioNTech SE
BNTX
$183.11 (1.48%) $2.67

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