European Union faces vaccine delays in 'severe contractual violation'News

Daniel Fowler
January 25, 2021

Earlier Sunday, European Council President Charles Michel also threatened the pharmaceutical companies with possible legal consequences if they do not fulfill their vaccine contracts.

An Taoiseach Micheál Martin also said that vaccinations for people over the age of 70 may be delayed as a result. Due to the temporary delay of vaccine shipments, ... pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and AstraZeneca are now facing harsh criticism by European countries.

Although it was understandable there were problems, these needed to be understood fully, Michel said.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is considered key to the global vaccination effort because it is cheaper to produce and can be stored at fridge temperature.

"She made it clear that she expects AstraZeneca to deliver on the contractual arrangements foreseen in the advance purchasing agreement", said her spokesman Eric Mamer.

So far 1.312 million doses of vaccine had been injected in Italy, corresponding to around 70% of deliveries, placing Italy second in Europe after Germany, Locatelli said.

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In Ontario , health officials saw an increase in daily COVID-19 cases on Sunday compared to Saturday , unlike the region. The community of about 2,800 had been the centre of Nunavut's largest COVID-19 outbreak and at one point had 222 cases.

AstraZeneca's announcement that it will deliver fewer vaccines to the European Union early on has only increased pressure on the 27-nation bloc, especially since Pfizer-BioNTech, the first vaccine to get European Union approval, failed last week to keep up its promised deliveries to the EU.

Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Saturday that France had now passed the one-million vaccination marker. Giuseppe Conte said that he would consider "all legal steps" after senior AstraZeneca executives confirmed to Rome on Saturday that Italy would be given 3.4m doses in the first quarter instead of 8m.

An EU official said that meant a 60 percent cut to the 31 million doses it had ordered. A spokesperson for the European Commission said AstraZeneca had confirmed a "change in its delivery schedule" and the commission was working to obtain more details.

EU Council President Charles Michel said the EU already "pounded our fist on the table" with Pfizer last week to ensure that the delays end by the end of this week.

The EU initially ordered up to 400 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and in total has secured contracts for more than two billion vaccine doses for a total population of 450 million.

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