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The Belgian Court of First Instance has ordered drugmaker AstraZeneca to deliver 50mn doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to the EU in three installments or face financial penalties for breach of contract.
- The court has ordered AZ to deliver the vaccines by the following dates:
- 15 million doses by 26 July, at 9 a.m
- 20 million doses by 23 August
- 15 million doses at 27 September
- If these deadlines are not hit, the court has stated that it will fine AZ EUR10 per vaccine dose missing from the total.
- Both sides are claiming victory in the case, the European Commission in that AZ is being forced to deliver the vaccines, and that the judgment found, "...that AstraZeneca committed a serious breach ('faute lourde') of its contractual obligations with the EU. The court also holds that AstraZeneca should have deployed all its efforts to deliver the vaccines within the agreed timetable including the British production sites explicitly mentioned in the contract – especially given the big delays in deliveries to the EU."
- EU Statement on decision: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail...
- AstraZeneca statement on decision: https://www.companynewshq.com/company-news/pharmac...
- AZ is claiming it welcomes the ruling, stating that "The European Commission had requested 120 million vaccine doses cumulatively by the end of June 2021, and a total of 300 million doses by the end of September 2021. The judge ordered delivery of 80.2 million doses by 27 September 2021. To date, the Company has supplied more than 70 million doses to the European Union and will substantially exceed 80.2 million doses by the end of June 2021. All other measures sought by the European Commission have been dismissed, and in particular the Court found that the European Commission has no exclusivity or right of priority over all other contracting parties."
- The impact of the ruling on the rollout of vaccines in the EU is likely to be minimal, given that the bloc is largely using the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, with the OAZ vaccine largely sidelined among the non-elderly due to extremely rare blood clotting side effects.