EU will seek clarification from Pfizer over new vaccine delays

FILE PHOTO: A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a "Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine" sticker and a medical syringe in front of displayed Pfizer logo in this illustration taken, October 30, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission will seek clarification from Pfizer over delays reported by EU countries for the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines next week, a spokesman for the EU executive said on Friday.

Pfizer and the Commission had earlier said that there would be no more slowdowns next week, after supplies were held up this week due to works at a Pfizer plant meant to ramp up production.

Italy is threatening legal action against Pfizer for the delays. On Thursday, COVID-19 special commissioner Domenico Arcuri said the country was been told to expect a 20% cut next week after a reduction in this week’s supply of almost 30%.

Czech Health Minister Jan Blatny said on Thursday that Pfizer deliveries to his country were falling by about 15% this week and as much as 30% for the following two weeks.

“We will seek clarification from the company,” the EU spokesman told a news conference.

The contract with the EU is confidential and each country negotiates different arrangements with Pfizer for deliveries.

It is not clear whether the U.S. firm has legal obligations to deliver certain amounts of doses on a weekly basis, as some national orders seem to require, or on a quarterly basis.

Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio, editing by Marine Strauss and Elaine Hardcastle