EU sues AstraZeneca over delayed deliveries

The European Commission is launching legal action after AstraZeneca said they were only aiming to deliver a third of the number of COVID-19 vaccines ordered by the EU.

All 27 EU states are backing the move accusing the company of not respecting its contract.

Here’s the EU Commission's spokesman:

"What matters to us in this case is we want to make sure that there is a speedy delivery of a sufficient number of doses that European citizens are entitled to and which have been promised on the basis of the contract."

Under the contract, AstraZeneca had committed to making, quote, its "best reasonable efforts" to deliver 180 million vaccine doses to the EU in the second quarter of this year.

That would make a total of 300 million in the period from December to June.

But the company said in a statement on March 12 it would aim to deliver only one-third of that.

A week later the EU Commission sent a legal letter to the company in the first step of a formal procedure to resolve disputes.

They accuse AstraZeneca of not having a "reliable" plan to deliver on time.

AstraZeneca said in response that the legal action by the EU was without merit and pledged to defend itself strongly in court.