EU plays down claim that a legal case has been launched against AstraZeneca

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is pictured in a pharmacy in Boulogne Billancourt, outside Paris, Monday, March 15, 2021.
A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is pictured in a pharmacy in Boulogne Billancourt, outside Paris, Monday, March 15, 2021. Copyright Christophe Ena/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
By Chantal Da SilvaChristopher Pitchers & Jorge Liboreiro
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Irish health minister Stephen Donnelly said the European Commission would take legal action against the vaccine producer, but Brussels played down the claim.


Brussels has played down reports that it has launched legal action against AstraZeneca over delays to vaccine doses.

On Thursday, Ireland's health minister said that a "legal case has been initiated by the Commission".

Stephen Donnelly told Ireland's parliament the country had joined "as one of the parties to that legal case", adding that the case was being pursued "specifically around AstraZeneca's complete failure to meet its delivery and contractual agreements for April, May and June".

But in a statement sent to Euronews, European Commission spokesperson Eric Mamer said the body has "not launched a legal procedure against AstraZeneca at this point in time".

A second spokesperson for the European Commission reiterated no legal action had been taken.

It comes as multiple media outlets, including Reuters and Politico, reported that such a case was being pursued, citing sources.

AstraZeneca had committed to supplying 180 million doses to the EU in the second quarter of this year but has faced multiple delays to shipments. EU officials have accused the company of failing to deliver on its commitment.

Last month, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen accused AstraZeneca of having "unfortunately under-produced and under-delivered".

At the time, she had said the European Union was expecting to receive 70 million vaccine doses from the drugmaker, far less than had been expected.

As a result, she said: "This painfully, of course, reduced the speed of the vaccination campaign.”

It comes amid concerns that rare blood clot cases could be linked to the vaccine, with a number of countries pausing the rollout of the jab.

Europe's regulator has said the blood clots should be considered a "very rare" side effect.

It said the benefits of the vaccine outweigh its risks.

But last week, Denmark became the first country in Europe to ditch the vaccine from its programme.

During his remarks on Thursday, Donnelly said that given the current information available, he would not hesitate to get the AstraZeneca jab himself if given the chance.

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