Italy to take countermeasures following COVID-19 vaccine delays

Italy to take countermeasures following COVID-19 vaccine delays”

Now that AstraZeneca Plc has also warned of cuts in deliveries to its doses - even as they await clearance for use in the bloc - Italy might have to redraw its national plan at the end of the month, he told a press conference.

On Saturday, Italy's Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, accused AstraZeneca of a "serious contractual violation" and has threated legal action against it and Pfizer.

AstraZeneca said in its statement that if European Union approval was granted, the "initial volumes will be lower than anticipated", although the start would not be delayed.

But the company has said that its deliveries will be lower as a result of complications at a European manufacturing site. "We'll have to consider matters towards the end of January", Locatelli said.

The EU has signed six vaccine contracts for more than two billion doses, but only the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have so far been approved for use.

"But if we manage to mobilise the production lines, we may be able to succeed".

Italy has vaccinated 1.34 million of a population of 60 million.

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The AstraZeneca vaccine has the advantage of being cheaper to produce and being simpler to store and transport than its rivals.

Mr Conte said that his health minister and the special commissioner in charge of Italy's pandemic response had spoken with senior AstraZeneca executives in Italy on Saturday who confirmed the reduction in deliveries in the first quarter.

Almost 40,300 people have completed the vaccination cycle after receiving the second dose, he added.

Its health authority now expects to receive only 200,000 AstraZeneca doses in February - far less than the 1.12 million initially expected.

"We believe that Pfizer is now at fault", Domenico Arcuri, Italy's special commissioner for the pandemic, told La Stampa newspaper on Saturday, confirming the country planned to pursue legal action against the company.

French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune on Friday called on Pfizer to "honor its commitments".

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