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Pfizer to continue vaccine supply to Italy even if Rome files lawsuit: CEO to paper

FILE PHOTO: A vial and sryinge are seen in front of a displayed Pfizer and Biontech logo in this illustration taken January 11, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

ROME (Reuters) - Pfizer will continue to supply its COVID-19 vaccine to Italy, respecting its agreement with the European Commission, even if Rome sues the company, the chief executive of the group’s Italian unit said on Thursday.

“We do not intend to speculate on this, but we will continue to supply the vaccine as envisaged by the agreements with the European Commission,” the CEO of Pfizer in Italy, Paivi Kerkola, said in an interview with daily la Repubblica.

Kerkola said that the group’s supply of vaccine to Italy would be back to “regular” this week.

On Tuesday, Italy asked the European Commission to take action against Pfizer over cuts to its COVID-19 vaccine deliveries, a day after Rome had sent a formal warning letter to the U.S drug company calling on it to respect its contractual commitments after a slowdown in deliveries.

Last week Pfizer said it was temporarily slowing supplies to Europe to make manufacturing changes that would boost output.

Kerkola said she believed that the group would be able to supply about 2 billion vaccine doses by the end of the year and that increases in production volume would be seen from mid-February.

Asked about the difference in vaccine prices Pfizer applied to different countries, the executive said prices remained confidential but the company used a “fair access” principle, with higher-income countries spending more and lower-income countries less.

Reporting by Giulia Segreti. Editing by Maria Pia Quaglia and Gerry Doyle

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