COVID-19: EU launches lawsuit against AstraZeneca over vaccine supply failures.

The EU has launched legal action against AstraZeneca after Brussels accused the drug company of failing to supply enough COVID-19 vaccines to the bloc. The European Commission claims AstraZeneca failed to respect its contract with Brussels, which states the company would use “best reasonable efforts” to supply 180 million vaccine doses to the EU in the second quarter of this year.

However in March AstraZeneca informed EU members it would only be able to deliver a third of what was agreed due to supply chain issues, leading to the start of legal action from Brussels. All 27 EU members have backed the lawsuit against the drugs giant, which also claims AstraZeneca failed to create a “reliable strategy to ensure timely delivery of doses”.

The company denies breaking its contract with the EU, and has said they will supply over 50 million vaccine doses to the bloc by the end of April.

The European Commission has been criticised for its slow vaccine rollout. Both Britain and America have inoculated over 50% of their populations, compared to just 21% in the EU. Leaders in Brussels blamed vaccine manufacturers for delays and supply shortages, and claimed that AstraZeneca vaccines meant for the EU were going to the UK.

In March the CEO of AstraZeneca hit back at these suggestions, and said the British government had agreed its vaccine contract three months before the EU, meaning supply chain problems had been solved by the time the jab had been approved by regulators. The British government has defended the company for producing vaccines at cost and for creating a jab which can be stored at room temperature.

Emmanuel Macron and other European leaders came under fire for raising doubts about the Oxford jab without evidence, which may have led to a lower uptake in vaccines amongst Europeans.

Steven Edginton, The Sun

Read more: Fury as EU legal battle over AstraZeneca ‘will make jab shambles even WORSE as it fuels more distrust’ - www.thesun.co.uk/news/14732993/eu-suing-astrazeneca-failure-vaccine-supply/

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