The European Commission has launched legal action against AstraZeneca and accused the company of failing to respect its vaccine contract.
Stella Kyriakides, the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said today: ‘Our priority is to ensure Covid-19 vaccine deliveries take place to protect the health of [the EU].
‘This is why the EU Commission has decided jointly with all Member States to bring legal proceedings against AstraZeneca. Every vaccine dose counts. Every vaccine dose saves lives.’
Member states were asked by the Commission to back legal action against AstraZeneca over an alleged breach of its contractual obligations to supply to the bloc with the vaccine.
The company delivered less than 30 million of its expected 120 million doses ordered by the EU in the first quarter of the year. It also refused to redirect supplies that were headed to the UK to fill the shortfall.
AstraZeneca then committed to making its ‘best reasonable efforts’ to deliver 180 million doses to the EU in the second quarter of this year, but later said on March 12 that it would only provide one third of the amount.
This caused the EU Commission to send a legal letter to the company, marking the first step of a formal procedure to resolve disputes.
An EU spokesperson said: ‘The Commission has started last Friday a legal action against the company AstraZeneca.
‘The reason being that some terms of the contract have not been respected and the company has not been in a position to come up with a reliable strategy to ensure the timely delivery of doses.
‘What matters to us in this case is we want to make sure there is a speedy delivery of a sufficient number of doses that European citizens are entitled to and which have been promised on the basis of the contract.’
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