European Commission to launch second legal case against AstraZeneca

The European Commission will start on Tuesday a second legal case in the Belgian courts against AstraZeneca over its delayed deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines, a spokesman for the EU executive said on Monday.

The move is mostly procedural after a first case was launched in April, an official familiar with the case said, adding however that this new legal action will allow the EU to seek possible financial penalties.

"The case against AstraZeneca on the merits will be introduced before the Belgian court," the commission's spokesman said.

The first legal action was about requesting faster deliveries, whereas the new one will concern the merit of the case.

In an embarrassing twist, citizens of the Belgian town of Puurs, where the Pfizer vaccine is manufactured, had complained about the country's slow roll-out, and the fact that they themselves were not being vaccinated. Last week the government addressed the matter, and the townsfolk were vaccinated - with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

According to EU data, AstraZeneca has delivered 50 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to the bloc's member states.

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