• By The Financial District

TRIAL ON VACCINE DELAY BEGINS

After months of a bitter dispute over vaccine delivery delays between the European Union and AstraZeneca, a highly publicized trial opened on Wednesday in Brussels, according to a Euronews report.

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On this first day, the EU accused the drugmaker of acting in bad faith by providing shots to other nations when it had promised them for urgent delivery to the bloc's 27 member states.


Brussels asked the court to fine AstraZeneca €10 million per infraction and to force the company to pay €10 per dose for each day of delay as compensation for breaching the EU contract while seeking a court order for the urgent delivery of promised jabs.


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300 million AstraZeneca jabs were expected by the end of June. But only a third of that will be delivered to Member states.


EU lawyer Rafael Jafferali told the court the company now expects to deliver the total number of doses by the end of December. "With a six-month delay, it's obviously a failure," he said.


'Best reasonable effort'

His main argument is that AstraZeneca should have used production sites in the bloc and the UK for EU supplies as part of a "best reasonable effort'' clause in the contract.


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He said that 50 million doses that should have been delivered to the EU went to countries outside the bloc instead, "in violation'' of their contract.


The EU legal team also accused the drugmaker of granting preferential treatment to the UK instead of delivering jabs to the EU.


Charles-Edouard Lambert, another lawyer on the EU team, said AstraZeneca decided to reserve production at its Oxford site for Britain. "This is utterly serious. AstraZeneca did not use all the means at its disposal. There is a double standard in the way it treats the UK and member states," he said.



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