The Supply of the COVID-19 Vaccine is Delayed, Italy Will Take Legal Steps

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NUSADAILY.COM -MILAN- Italy will pursue legal action against Pfizer Inc and AstraZeneca over delays in delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine, in an effort to secure the agreed amount of supply instead of seeking redress, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said Sunday (24/1).

“We are working to keep our vaccine program plan unchanged,” Di Maio said on RAI state television.

On Saturday Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that the delay in supplying the vaccine was “unacceptable” and was a serious violation of the obligations stated in the contract, and added that Italy would use all available legal tools.

Italy should rethink its entire vaccination program if problems in supply continue, a senior health official said.

When asked if he thought the pharmaceutical company had been forced to announce the reductions, Di Maio believed they had agreed the amount was beyond ability.

“We activated all channels so that the EU Commission did all it could to encourage them to honour the contract,” he said.

Last week Pfizer said it would temporarily slow supply for Europe to make changes to the manufacturing process that would boost production.

On Friday, a top official told Reuters that AstraZeneca had informed the European Union of cutting the supply of COVID-19 vaccines by up to 60 percent to the bloc due to production problems.

The supply cuts announced by both companies will result in a setback of about four weeks for residents aged 80 and over, and six to eight weeks for the entire population, Deputy Health Minister Pierpaolo Sileri said on Sunday.

“This delay has impacted the whole of Europe and parts of the world but I believe the setback can be fixed further,” he said in an Italian television broadcast. (sak/ant)