The European Commission’s Public Health and Food Safety Spokesperson, Stefan De Keersmaecker, announced that AstraZeneca has been sued over the delayed delivery of COVID-19 vaccines. AstraZeneca delivered 50 million fewer vaccines to the EU than was stated in the AstraZeneca-EU deal.
Last year, the Advance Purchase Agreement was made public with some redactions. AstraZeneca agreed to supply the EU with 400 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. According to the European Commission, 80 million of those doses were supposed to be delivered in the first quarter of 2021, but only 30 million were delivered.
In a statement, AstraZeneca said it “has completely complied with the Advance Purchase Agreement with the European Commission and will vigorously defend itself in court” in response to the news of the legal proceedings.
In response to the delays, AstraZeneca stated that the vaccines are difficult to produce, as shown by the supply issues that many companies in Europe and around the world are experiencing.
We’re making progress on the technological challenges, and our productivity is improving, but a vaccine’s development period is long, so these changes will take time to translate into more completed vaccine doses.
The AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved for use by the European Union. Despite some questions about the vaccine’s side effects, the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that “the advantages of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the risks and vaccinations should continue.”
The WHO’s conclusion was echoed by the European Medicine Agency.