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Coronavirus: EU sues AstraZeneca over vaccine delivery delays

Coronavirus: sues AstraZeneca over vaccine delivery delayshttps://duklr.ml/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/109028083_1px_white_line-nc.pnghttps://duklr.ml/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/105914180_line976-nc-5.png

Coronavirus: EU sues AstraZeneca over vaccine delivery delays

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A woman receives an AstraZeneca shot in Madridimage copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe legal action follows months of disputes between the two sides

The European Union has launched legal action against the coronavirus vaccine manufacturer AstraZeneca.

The European Commission – the EU’s executive branch – said it was suing the company for not respecting its vaccine supply contract, and for not having a “reliable” plan to ensure timely deliveries.

AstraZeneca said the move was “without merit”.

It said it would “strongly defend itself in court”.

The legal action marks an escalation in a long-running dispute between the two sides over the supply of coronavirus vaccines.

  • Why is the EU unhappy with AstraZeneca?
  • Covid map: Where are cases the highest?
  • EU hints at summer return for US travellers

The EU is struggling with the slow pace of its vaccine rollout. Some in the bloc have claimed that AstraZeneca has shown preferential treatment to the UK – but the company has denied this.

What do we know about the legal action?

A European Commission spokesman said the action was launched on Friday, with the backing of all 27 member states.

It stems from a deal the EU agreed with AstraZeneca in August for 300 million doses, with an option for 100 million more.

Earlier this year, AstraZeneca said its supplies would be reduced because of production problems. Of 80 million doses planned for delivery in the first quarter of 2021, only about 30 million were sent.

According to the Commission, the company is set to provide 70 million doses in the second quarter of 2021 instead of the 180 million that were initially arranged.

“The terms of the contract, or some terms of the contract, have not been respected,” the spokesman said. “We want to make sure that there’s a speedy delivery of a sufficient number of doses… which have been promised on the basis of the contract.”

Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides tweeted that the commission’s priority was to “ensure Covid-19 vaccine deliveries take place to protect the health of the European Union”.

“Every vaccine dose counts. Every vaccine dose saves lives,” she wrote.

One EU official told Reuters news agency that the move was taken to “send a message” to AstraZeneca’s chief executive Pascal Soriot.

Global vaccine rollout


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The WorldAfricaAsiaEuropeMiddle EastLatin America & CaribbeanNorth AmericaOceania

World
13.2

1,025,601,967
US
68.4

228,661,408
China
15.6

226,269,993
10.1

139,185,173
UK
69.2

46,253,754
Brazil
17.9

38,027,113
30.4

25,446,941
Turkey
25.1

21,130,963
France
28.7

19,535,141
Indonesia
6.8

18,570,974
Russia
12.4

18,152,707
29.4

17,751,562
Mexico
12.7

16,410,034
Spain
30.5

14,266,251
Chile
73.9

14,131,492
Canada
31.9

12,045,041
Israel
120.2

10,401,437
Poland
27.3

10,343,967
United Arab Emirates
103.3

10,215,846
Morocco
24.2

8,941,120
Saudi Arabia
23.7

8,235,166
Bangladesh
4.8

7,954,176
Argentina
15.8

7,134,949
Hungary
54.5

5,268,968
Netherlands
29.9

5,128,167
Romania
25.1

4,832,203
Colombia
8.6

4,400,615
Belgium
29.6

3,431,848
Serbia
47.8

3,253,039
Portugal
29.6

3,018,383
Austria
31.4

2,827,613
Czech Republic
26.4

2,822,491
Greece
27.1

2,821,625
Sweden
27.7

2,796,778
Japan
2.1

2,718,090
South Korea
4.6

2,371,793
Switzerland
26.3

2,273,981
Singapore
37.8

2,213,888
Cambodia
12.1

2,027,968
Nepal
6.8

1,989,248
Australia
7.6

1,934,077
Denmark
30.7

1,780,892
Philippines
1.6

1,739,656
Finland
30.4

1,683,060
Uruguay
46.1

1,602,385
Dominican Republic
13.9

1,509,898
Norway
27.6

1,496,745
Slovakia
26.5

1,444,284
Azerbaijan
14.0

1,423,295
Qatar
49.1

1,415,761
Peru
4.3

1,412,281
Ireland
28.1

1,385,753
Malaysia
4.0

1,305,161
Pakistan
0.6

1,300,000
Bahrain
69.4

1,180,735
Nigeria
0.6

1,167,837
Thailand
1.6

1,149,666
Myanmar
1.9

1,040,000
Kazakhstan
5.3

1,001,805
Sri Lanka
4.3

925,242
Lithuania
32.2

877,595
Kuwait
20.1

860,000
Ghana
2.7

842,521
Croatia
19.4

795,597
Kenya
1.4

750,471
Ecuador
4.2

732,717
Jordan
7.2

732,052
Bulgaria
10.4

723,240
El Salvador
10.8

698,569
Costa Rica
13.7

698,327
Mongolia
20.7

678,692
0.8

667,202
Egypt
0.6

660,000
Bolivia
5.6

656,613
Panama
14.4

619,190
Slovenia
28.1

584,303
Ukraine
1.2

528,033
Bhutan
62.2

479,686
Uzbekistan
1.4

458,555
Ethiopia
0.4

430,000
Lebanon
6.1

415,562
Estonia
30.9

410,485
Albania
13.9

400,064
Senegal
2.4

398,941
Angola
1.2

395,447
Zimbabwe
2.5

372,099
Tunisia
3.1

368,837
Maldives
66.8

360,997
Rwanda
2.7

349,702
Belarus
3.5

328,500
Malta
70.6

311,559
Iraq
0.7

298,377
0.5

292,623
Uganda
0.6

268,317
Malawi
1.4

267,293
Latvia
13.7

257,586
Venezuela
0.9

250,000
Oman
4.8

244,821
0.6

240,000
Cyprus
27.0

236,265
Palestinian Territories
4.2

213,989
Vietnam
0.2

209,632
New Zealand
3.8

183,351
Luxembourg
27.7

173,153
Guatemala
0.9

165,271
Togo
1.9

160,000
Sudan
0.3

140,227
Laos
1.9

137,026
Jamaica
4.6

135,473
Guinea
1.0

129,345
Guinea
1.0

129,345
Seychelles
123.2

121,165
Moldova
3.0

120,254
Somalia
0.7

117,567
Mauritius
9.2

117,323
Ivory Coast
0.4

117,227
Guyana
14.4

113,596
Iceland
33.2

113,330
Paraguay
1.4

98,666
0.2

75,000
Barbados
25.0

71,881
Isle of Man
81.9

69,658
Gibraltar
201.8

67,972
Cayman Islands
97.0

63,774
Nicaragua
0.9

61,625
Montenegro
9.5

59,911
Honduras
0.6

57,639
Mozambique
0.2

57,305
6.2

56,000
Equatorial Guinea
4.0

55,799
Bermuda
84.0

52,337
North Macedonia
2.5

51,853
Guernsey
69.5

46,587
Sierra Leone
0.6

44,347
Taiwan
0.2

42,672
Belize
9.9

39,330
Botswana
1.6

36,652
Suriname
6.2

36,503
Georgia
0.9

36,056
Eswatini
2.7

31,846
Antigua and Barbuda
30.4

29,754
Andorra
34.2

26,414
Mali
0.1

26,226
San Marino
76.7

26,025
Turks and Caicos Islands
62.8

24,300
Saint Lucia
13.0

23,941
Dominica
32.0

23,055
Monaco
58.5

22,953
Faroe Islands
35.4

17,280
Gambia
0.7

16,735
Trinidad and Tobago
1.2

16,462
Kosovo
0.000

16,132
Lesotho
0.7

16,000
Bahamas
3.8

15,000
Bosnia and Herzegovina
0.5

15,000
Congo
0.3

14,297
Zambia
0.076

14,012
St Vincent and the Grenadines
12.5

13,852
Greenland
22.7

12,859
Grenada
11.3

12,764
Saint Kitts and Nevis
22.3

11,848
Liechtenstein
27.4

10,457
Djibouti
1.0

10,246
Sao Tome and Principe
4.4

9,724
Anguilla
38.9

5,835
Gabon
0.3

5,762
Namibia
0.2

4,748
Saint Helena
75.3

4,572
Falkland Islands
126.5

4,407
Mauritania
0.063

2,930
Timor-Leste
0.2

2,629
Syria
0.014

2,500
Brunei
0.5

2,323
Cape Verde
0.4

2,184
Kyrgyzstan
0.032

2,100
Solomon Islands
0.3

2,000
Montserrat
35.0

1,751
Niger
0.006

1,366
Papua New Guinea
0.012

1,081
South Sudan
0.009

947
Libya
0.011

750
Armenia
0.019

565
Tonga
0.5

500
Cameroon
0.002

400
Nauru
1.6

168
Benin
0

0
British Indian Ocean Territory
0

0
British Virgin Islands
0

0
Burkina Faso
0

0
Burundi
0

0
Central African Republic
0

0
Chad
0

0
Comoros
0

0
Cook Islands
0

0
Cuba
0

0
DR Congo
0

0
Eritrea
0

0
Guinea-Bissau
0

0
Haiti
0

0
Kiribati
0

0
Liberia
0

0
Madagascar
0

0
Niue
0

0
North Korea
0

0
Pitcairn
0

0
Samoa
0

0
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
0

0
Tajikistan
0

0
Tanzania
0

0
Tokelau
0

0
Turkmenistan
0

0
Tuvalu
0

0
Vanuatu
0

0
Vatican
0

0
Yemen
0

0

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In a statement responding to the announcement, AstraZeneca said it had “fully complied” with its agreement with the EU.

“Our company is about to deliver almost 50m doses to European countries by the end of April, in line with our forecast,” the British-Swedish company said.

“We are making progress addressing the technical challenges and our output is improving, but the production cycle of a vaccine is very long which means these improvements take time to result in increased finished vaccine doses,” the statement read.

AstraZeneca has previously said that the contract obliged the company to make its “best effort” to meet EU demand, without compelling it to stick to a specific timetable.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman told reporters he was unaware of the specifics around the legal action. He said AstraZeneca had been a “hugely strong partner for the UK and in fact, globally, for the work they’re doing”.

Under the contract, any legal action would need to be resolved by Belgian courts.

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Related Topics

  • AstraZeneca
  • Coronavirus pandemic
  • Coronavirus vaccines
  • European Union

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