Following reports that Germany and other major EU members were reluctant to sue AstraZeneca over the botched rollout of its COVID-19 vaccine, it looks like Berlin and Paris have actually signed on.
According to the latest round of reports, almost every EU country has now signed on, opening the door for the EU Commission to launch the lawsuit as soon as Friday.
As Politico reminds us, 5 or 6 major EU nations had expressed some reservations about a lawsuit when EU ambassadors met earlier this week, arguing that legal action could further worsen AstraZeneca’s already-tarnished image. But as many member states continue to impose age limits on the AstraZeneca jab, it seems they’ve given up on these concerns. One by one, each country reportedly fell in line, with France backing the lawsuit on Thursday night, followed by Germany Friday morning, according to a pair of diplomats who weren’t named in the report. Hungary backed the lawsuit as well on Friday morning, a sign that the lawsuit has broad support among EU members.
AstraZeneca infuriated the EU by failing to deliver on its delivery commitments. The company delivered only 30 million out of the 100 million doses promised for the first quarter in a contract that will likely be the focus of the suit.
The lawsuit, however, will likely focus on the company’s continued inability to deliver doses in the second quarter. The EU wants AstraZeneca to commit to supplying 90 million doses by the end of June, approximately half of what the company originally committed to send in the second quarter. Instead, AstraZeneca told the EU it plans to supply just 70MM doses in that time period. During the first three months of 2021, AZ delivered only 30M doses, a fraction of the 100M it promised.
EU members aren’t the only ones who will be suing AstraZeneca. Already, family members of victims who died from rare blood clots believed to be linked to the vaccine are suing for more information as they consider pushing for monetary rewards.
A spokesperson for AstraZeneca said the company is “not aware of any legal proceedings” and that the company “continues to hold regular discussions on supply with the Commission and Member States.”