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EU suing AstraZeneca to get 90 million vaccine doses earlier than July

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The demand stems from a row between Brussels and AstraZeneca over a shortfall of tens of thousands and thousands of vaccine doses the corporate was meant to have delivered to the EU for the reason that starting of the yr

The EU government is suing British-Swedish pharmaceutical group AstraZeneca to pressure it to ship 90 million extra doses of its Covid-19 vaccine earlier than July, a spokesman mentioned on Tuesday.

“We want the court to order the company to deliver 90 million additional doses, in addition to the 30 million already delivered in the first quarter,” European Commission spokesman Stefan De Keersmaecker advised a media convention.

The demand stems from a row between Brussels and AstraZeneca over a shortfall of tens of thousands and thousands of vaccine doses the corporate was meant to have delivered to the EU for the reason that starting of the yr.

The fee has launched two emergency authorized actions in opposition to the corporate in a Belgian court docket, first to have the urgency of the difficulty recognised, after which to have a choose rule on whether or not the EU’s case is well-founded.

The European Commission, backed by the 27 EU member states, argues that AstraZeneca has breached a contract stipulating it might ship 300 million vaccine doses to the EU within the first half of this yr.

AstraZeneca has responded that it’s sure solely by a “best reasonable efforts” to fulfill that focus on.

Revised deliveries

After citing manufacturing issues in its EU manufacture, and refusing to divert doses from British factories listed as suppliers within the EU contract, the corporate provided revised deliveries.

Instead of 120 million doses initially promised for the primary three months of this yr, it delivered 30 million. For the second quarter, when it was to have provided 180 million doses, it vowed it might as an alternative ship 70 million.

An EU official with data of vaccine deliveries advised AFP that AstraZeneca’s present rhythm of 10 million doses delivered per 30 days fell even wanting that diminished schedule.

De Keersmaecker mentioned the purpose of the lawsuits was to not punish AstraZeneca with a nice or search compensation however “to make sure that the doses are delivered”. If a nice would spur the corporate to fulfill its obligations “we could ask them to pay a fine”.

He mentioned the Commission would solely lay its arguments out within the court docket room, not in a media convention, however added: “We are convinced that we have a very sound argument in demanding what we’re demanding before the courts.”

The authorized motion piles additional stress on AstraZeneca after a hyperlink was made between its vaccine and really uncommon however usually deadly blood clots coupled with low platelet ranges.

After the European Medicines Agency mentioned that the advantages of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweighed the chance for all adults, the European Commission maintained AstraZeneca as one of many 4 vaccines it gives to member states.

But many EU international locations have restricted AstraZeneca jabs to older folks solely, sometimes over 55 or 60. One, Denmark, has deserted the vaccine solely.

Non-EU member Norway has additionally obtained a advice from specialists to drop AstraZeneca, whereas specialists in Britain, a former EU member, really useful folks below 40 be given another vaccine.

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