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Italy to sue over delays in Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines

The authorities have pledged to pressure companies at a European level to meet their contractual obligations. Pfizer and AstraZeneca previously said they would not be able to meet the agreed supply of vaccine to Europe
Italy will file a lawsuit over the cut in supplies of the coronavirus vaccine produced by Pfizer and AstraZeneca, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said in an interview with RAI TV and radio station.

“AstraZeneca and Pfizer do not respect the contract, we will sue. We will put pressure on the European level to ensure that pharmaceutical companies fulfill their obligations, ”said di Maio.

According to him, Italy was the first in Europe in terms of vaccination rates, but now they are slowing down.

Regional Affairs Minister Francesco Boccia said last week that there should be no unilateral cuts without prior notice.

Pfizer reported that shipments to Italy will be cut by 29%.

EU countries complained about problems with the supply of Pfizer vaccine a week and a half ago. The ministers of health of Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia wrote a letter to the European Commission and demanded to ensure timely deliveries. “This situation is unacceptable. It not only affects planned vaccination schedules, but also reduces the credibility of the vaccination campaign, ”they said.

Pfizer explained that the delays were caused by a reorganization of production. This, in turn, will require additional regulatory approvals.

AstraZeneca, in turn, announced on Sunday that it will not be able to fulfill its obligations under the contract with the EU. The company will more than halve its vaccine supplies. Reuters reported that from January to March, AstraZeneca will short of 60% of the ordered vaccine doses to Europe (almost 31 million doses out of the 80 million ordered). According to the agency, there is no guarantee that the cut supplies will be compensated for in the second quarter.

On Friday, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that they have agreed with the World Health Organization (WHO) to supply their vaccine to low- and middle-income countries through the COVAX program. In total, the companies will supply 40 million doses of vaccine during 2021, the first deliveries will begin in the first quarter.

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