EU ‘should consider’ legal action and blocking exports over AstraZeneca COVID vaccine row


The EU should consider legal means to secure vaccine doses promised by drug companies including AstraZeneca, the president of the European Council has said.

Charles Michel made the comments in a letter as Brussels and AstraZeneca are embroiled in an escalating row over the EU’s slow start to its inoculation programme.

AstraZeneca announced it would have to cut the amount of jabs delivered to the bloc’s 27 nations before the end of March from 80 million to 31 million, citing production issues at European factories.

The European Commission has asked Belgian authorities to inspect production at a plant in Belgium that makes the AstraZeneca vaccine, where problems have led to a large shortfall in supply.

Belgium’s Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products (FAGG) said on Thursday that the EU executive, which has coordinated vaccine orders for the European Union, had requested an inspection of production flows.

The European Commission declined to comment.

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