EU preparing legal case against AstraZeneca over vaccine shortfalls

The European Commission is getting ready to launch legal proceedings against vaccine producer AstraZeneca, according to five EU diplomats.

The Commission raised the matter at a meeting of ambassadors Wednesday, during which the majority of EU countries said they would support suing the company over complaints it massively failed to deliver pledged doses to the bloc.

One diplomat clarified that the point of the legal proceedings is to make it mandatory for AstraZeneca to provide the doses set out in its EU contract.

Two of the diplomats said there was a deadline later this week, by which point EU countries must sign off on launching legal proceedings.

AstraZeneca stoked the ire of the EU in January when it said it would not be able to offer the bloc the number of doses initially anticipated. By the end of the first quarter, the company delivered 30 million doses to EU countries, rather than the 100 million doses pledged in its EU contract. The shortages severely hampered the vaccination campaigns across EU countries.

The company has projected it would deliver roughly 70 million doses by the end of the second quarter of the year, when it was supposed to have delivered the entire 300 million doses secured in the EU contract.

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