EU sues AstraZeneca over delay in supply of vaccine

Brussels, April 26

Ursula von der Leyen-led European Commission said on Monday it had launched a legal action against AstraZeneca for not respecting its contract for the supply of Covid vaccines and for not having a “reliable” plan to ensure timely deliveries.

Pledging to defend itself strongly in court, AstraZeneca said the EU’s legal action was without merit. “AstraZeneca has fully complied with the Advance Purchase Agreement with the European Commission and will strongly defend itself in court. We believe any litigation is without merit and we welcome this opportunity to resolve this dispute as soon as possible,” AstraZeneca said in a statement on Monday.

Under the contract, the Anglo-Swedish company had committed to making its “best reasonable efforts” to deliver 180 million vaccine doses to the EU in the second quarter of this year, for a total of 300 million in the period from December to June.

But AstraZeneca said in a statement on March 12 it would aim to deliver only one-third of that by the end of June, of which about 70 million in the second quarter. A week after that, the Commission sent a legal letter to the company in the first step of a formal procedure to resolve disputes.

“The Commission has started last Friday a legal action against AstraZeneca,” the EU spokesman told a news conference, noting all 27 EU states backed the move.

“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 timely delivery,” the spokesman added. — Reuters

Britain extends covid vaccine to all above 44 years of age

London: Those aged 44 and above in Britain will now be able to book their Covid jab starting as the National Health Service vaccine programme expands further to more younger age groups. Around half a million 44-year-olds will receive a text message inviting them for jab, said UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock. PTI

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