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European Union sues AstraZeneca for failure to deliver COVID-19 vaccines

By Don Johnson
European Union sues AstraZeneca for failure to deliver COVID-19 vaccines
The European Union's vaccine contract with AstraZeneca covers 400 million doses. File Photo by Luong Thai Linh/EPA-EFE

April 26 (UPI) -- The European Union announced Monday that it has filed a lawsuit against drugmaker AstraZeneca for failure to deliver its COVID-19 vaccine.

AstraZeneca said early this year it would not be able to deliver on the amount of vaccine doses scheduled for European Union countries over the first three months of 2021.

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The European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, started a legal action against the company on Friday that says Astrazeneca breached its purchase contract. The EC said all 27 European Union members support the legal move.

The European Union's vaccine contract with AstraZeneca covers 400 million doses. The company has so far delivered about 30 million doses, The New York Times reported.

RELATED WHO updates AstraZeneca guidance to warn of rare blood clotting syndrome

The pharma company denied that it has breached its contract because the EU had placed its order after other countries.

"Following an unprecedented year of scientific discovery, very complex negotiations, and manufacturing challenges, our company is about to deliver almost 50 million doses to European countries by the end of April, in line with our forecast," Astrazeneca said Monday, according to CNN.

"AstraZeneca has fully complied with the advance purchase agreement with the European Commission and will strongly defend itself in court."

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RELATED Denmark becomes first country to drop AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Denmark dropped the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine this month because of a possible link to rare blood clots in recipients. Officials said this month that 2.4 million doses of the vaccine would be withdrawn until further notice.

Other countries, including Germany, have restricted the AstraZeneca vaccine to older age groups, who are believed to be at a reduced risk for blood clots.

The vaccine has not been approved for use in the United States.

RELATED Scientists find clues to why AstraZeneca's vaccine may cause clots

A year in pandemic: How COVID-19 changed the world

National Institutes of Health official Dr. Anthony Fauci (C) speaks about the coronavirus during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Alexander Azar (L) announced that the United States is declaring the virus a public health emergency and issued a federal quarantine order of 14 days for 195 Americans. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

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