Diplomats reportedly warned that the EU’s legal battle with AstraZeneca will fuel distrust and further worsen the bloc’s blows.
Brussels has filed legal action against what it claims is the company’s “complete failure” to comply with contractual and delivery agreements, despite months of indecision over the introduction of the vaccine.
🔵 Read our live coronavirus blog for the latest updates
AstraZeneca has contributed to serious delays in introducing the botched vaccine to Europe, the EU says, although the blockade has been haunted by a U-turn and has 6.8 million unused doses.
The legal challenge was initiated by the European Commission against the jab company, Irish health minister Stephen Donnelly said.
But the action caused unease in five or six countries, including large states like Germany and France, according to several diplomats, Politico reports.
Some EU ambassadors believe the lawsuit would further undermine confidence in the vaccine by tarnishing AstraZeneca’s image, according to a diplomat.
Trust in the vaccine is particularly low in France after President Emmanuel Macron said it was unfounded that it was “nearly ineffective” in the over 65s, leading people to avoid the shot.
Another concern is that a lawsuit would not guarantee that the EU will receive multiple doses.
The diplomat told Politico “what can we do in practical terms if AstraZeneca says, ‘Take a closer look at our manufacturing sites – we just don’t have vaccines'”, adding that some countries “weren’t sure it was applicable” .
The contentious European Commission initiated the case despite AstraZeneca’s indecisive blockade approach, which resulted in empty vaccination centers and huge supplies as people refuse to be vaccinated.
According to data from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, there are currently around 6.8 million unused doses in warehouses across Europe.
So far, Germany has received nearly million doses of the vaccine but only administered 4.5 million, while France has taken delivery of 4.6 million but distributed only 3.4 million.
Speaking to the Irish Parliament, Mr. Donnelly said Thursday: “As regards AstraZeneca, the Commission has initiated legal proceedings.
“Earlier this week I joined Ireland as one of the parties in that lawsuit, most notably over AstraZeneca’s complete failure to comply with its delivery and contractual arrangements for April, May and June.”
The chaotic rollout of the vaccine across Europe was haunted by indecision, with Macron last month admitting that he completely botched the program.
It came after Germany’s Angela Merkel also admitted she made a “mistake” during the crucial launch.
While images of empty vaccination centers emerged in Germany and France, as people abandoned their appointments.
A large vaccination center in France was forced to close over the weekend after only 50 out of 4,000 people signed up for the AstraZeneca jab.
The usage rate of just 1.25% follows a series of warnings, withdrawals and U-turns on the safe and effective drug developed in the UK by President Emmanuel Macron.
Although it has been linked to a small number of blood clots, doctors and politicians in both France and Britain still believe that Oxford-AstraZeneca should remain a key part of the fight against Covid-19.
Blood clots are very rare, and in early April a review provided only a 0.000095% chance of a blood clot from the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The jab has been declared safe, although people under the age of 30 are offered an alternative due to the very low number of blood clots in that age group.
The lawsuit came after AstraZeneca cut vaccine supplies to the EU and marks another step in the blockade’s plan to sever ties with the company.
The drug marker had previously aimed to deliver 300 million doses of its vaccine by June.
But in March it said it would only be able to deliver a third of that amount.
In the same month, the EU sent a letter to the company, marking the first step in a legal proceeding.
But some countries have expressed concern over a lawsuit against AstraZeneca, as it would not guarantee multiple doses, Politico said.
“What can we do in practical terms if AstraZeneca says, ‘Take a closer look at our manufacturing sites – we just don’t have vaccines,'” a diplomat told the news site, adding that some countries “weren’t sure that was applicable “.
The chaotic launch of the EU jab, combined with a third wave of infections, has seen large swaths of the continent plummet again in recent weeks.
Countries around the bloc have also banned AstraZeneca’s strike amid security fears.
And the blockade’s shot-throwing led to a quarrel with the UK, which imported 11 million EU-produced doses as part of any country’s fastest vaccine campaign.
The dispute has erupted over vaccines produced at an AstraZeneca plant in the Netherlands, which can turn out up to five million vials per month.
When the EU moved to ban exports from the Dutch factory to the British, it emerged that the UK had actually invested £ 21m in the factory, while the Netherlands refused to invest.
SITUATION OF NO-CO
UK ‘no longer in a pandemic’ as jab implementation reduces Covid infections by 90%
Cops Confirm The Body Of A Missing Amish Teen, 18, Was Found In A 3-Foot Grave
The prime minister accuses Dominic Cummings “bitterly” of leaking messages to try to destabilize him
Desperate hunt launched for the mother of the newborn found alone in Birmingham park
THRONE IT AWAY
Royals suspend talks with Harry after continuing “Sussex side” losses
STRIKE TO DEATH
£ 2k a night escort “may have been pushed to death by client from balcony”
But Europe pulled back from threats of a vaccine war with the UK after emergency talks with Boris Johnson and the EU.
Johnson has issued a stern warning to Brussels of considerable “long-term damage” to its reputation and investment hopes if it raised barriers.
A spokesperson for the pharmaceutical company said: “AstraZeneca is not aware of any legal proceedings and continues to have regular discussions on the supply with the Commission and Member States.”