EU told to consider legal action amid bitter row over AstraZeneca vaccine supply

28 January 2021, 17:45 | Updated: 28 January 2021, 18:27

The President of the European Council has told the EU to consider legal action to secure doses of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccineThe President of the European Council has told the EU to consider legal action to secure doses of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine
The President of the European Council has told the EU to consider legal action to secure doses of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccineThe President of the European Council has told the EU to consider legal action to secure doses of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

The President of the European Council has told the EU to consider legal action to secure doses of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine.

In a letter, Charles Michel said the bloc needs to take "robust action to secure its supply of vaccines and demonstrate concretely that the protection of our citizens take absolute priority."

He added the bloc "should explore all options and make use of all legal means and enforcement measures at our disposal under the Treaties".

AstraZeneca said last week that it planned to cut initial deliveries in the EU to 31 million doses from the 80 million it had planned due to reduced yields from its manufacturing plants in Europe.

Read more: 'The EU-AstraZeneca vaccine dispute has become extremely bitter'

Read more: German authorities advise against over-65s getting AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine

The EU claimed on Wednesday that it will receive even less than that - just one quarter of the doses that member nations were supposed to get during January-March 2021.

According to the EU, the Belgian factory is one of four AstraZeneca sites included in the contract sealed by the European Commission and the company to produce vaccines for the EU market.

Top virologist reacts to Germans advising against Oxford jab

It comes after the EU ordered health officials to carry out an inspection of an Astrazeneca vaccine production line in Belgium to find out whether delays in the deliveries of jabs are due to production issues.

Health authorities in Belgium carried out the sudden inspection at the request of the European Commission amid the bitter dispute between the bloc over supplies of the vaccine.

Last night EU officials threatened Britain will "suffer" due to the distribution of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab. The UK ordered doses of the vaccine three months before the EU.

READ MORE: Astrazeneca and EU fail to resolve vaccine row after crisis talks

READ MORE: Covid-19: Valneva begins production of 60 million vaccine doses in Scotland

German MEP Peter Liese warned of a trade war, saying last night: "We see that Europe is not treated well, not from the United States and not from the UK, and then we have to show our weapons.

"Europe was always open. We wanted cooperation. Europe was the initiator of COVAX, but in the meantime, the UK... did the treaty 'UK first'.

"So we need to react to this. If it's the UK first and if it's [the] US first, then we need to tell other companies in the world, if we treat the Europeans as second class, you will suffer for this."

More to follow...

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Jay Slater (main) and Tenerife police hin ting for the missing Brit

Jay Slater detectives find different missing Briton while searching Tenerife gorge

Tommy Robinson has been arrested

Tommy Robinson arrested in Canada for immigration offences and stripped of passport

Exclusive
Home Secretary James Cleverly (left) and shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper take part in a live immigration debate on LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast at Global Studios in Leicester Square, London. Picture date: Tuesday June 25, 2024.

James Cleverly debates Yvette Cooper on immigration | Watch Again

Exclusive
Home Secretary James Cleverly (left) and shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper take part in a live immigration debate on LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast

Yvette Cooper says Labour will 'work with other countries' on migrant returns despite pledging to axe Rwanda scheme

The Tories have withdrawn support for two candidates being investigated over betting allegations.

Tories withdraw support for candidates caught up in election betting scandal

Yvette Cooper has dismissed claims made by James Cleverley on LBC

Yvette Cooper dismisses claims migrants are sitting in France 'waiting for Labour government'

Yvette Cooper slammed Just Stop Oil as 'pathetic'

Yvette Cooper slams 'pathetic' Just Stop Oil as she brands Stonehenge stunt a 'total disgrace'

Exclusive
James Cleverly and Yvette Cooper clashed on immigration

Labour will open door to 100,000 more migrants, James Cleverly claims, as Yvette Cooper accuses him of lying

Exclusive
James Cleverly and Yvette Cooper on LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast.

Labour won't get rid of 'incredibly expensive' Bibby Stockholm on day one, says Yvette Cooper

Hot weather has hit the UK

Exact date 35C 'pulses' from Europe to boost UK's sweltering heatwave, as temperatures soar

Lord Robertson said it is "total nonsense" that the West provoked Russia into invading Ukraine

Nigel Farage is 'cuddling up to the Kremlin', says ex-Nato boss amid claims West provoked Russia into invading Ukraine

Sir Keir Starmer has told a headteacher that her private school should ‘work to ensure costs are kept affordable for parents’.

Private schools must ‘ensure costs are kept affordable for parents’, Starmer tells headteacher amid plans for tax raid

Exclusive
Jordan McSweeney and Damien Bendall both committed murders while on probation

One person a week killed by criminal on probation, as ex-Victims Commissioner slams failure to protect public's safety

Tom Hilton said internet sleuths should 'show some respect'

'Show some respect': Teenager wounded in machete attack by Jay Slater gang tells internet sleuths 'to help find him'

Live
James Cleverly and Yvette Cooper clash.

General Election LIVE: Cooper and Cleverly clash in LBC immigration debate as Tories drop Gamblegate candidates

Rishi Sunak Holds Campaign Event In London

Metropolitan Police denies 'leaking names' of Conservatives suspected of betting on election date