Italian Prime Minister Antonio Conte criticized the U.S. company Pfizer and the British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca on Jan. 23 local time, saying that the delay in supplying the new crown vaccine was “unacceptable” and a serious violation of the spirit of the contract, according to Euronews, citing the European Union news agency.
Pfizer and AstraZeneca have reportedly warned that production problems have prevented the companies from supplying EU countries as agreed, with AstraZeneca saying on the 22nd that the first supply of vaccine is estimated to be lower than it would otherwise be.
Pfizer, for its part, said it was preparing to modify its plant to increase production and therefore needed to temporarily reduce shipments.
Conte criticized the situation in a social media post, saying it was unacceptable and pointing out that Italy’s vaccination program was drawn up solely on the basis of an agreement between the drugmaker and the EU.
In particular, he pointed out that the vaccine supply situation of AstraZeneca is more worrying, and if the reduction is confirmed, Italy may only get 3.4 million doses of vaccine in the first quarter of 2021, much lower than the original target of 8 million doses.
Conte said that the delayed shipments from the drug company amounted to a serious violation of the spirit of the contract, bringing great harm to Italy and other countries, and threatened to take legal action against Pfizer and others.
As of 23rd, Italian people have received 1.31 million doses of vaccine, which is the second EU country in terms of vaccination rate after Germany, of which nearly 40,300 people have completed two doses of vaccination.
According to the pandemic data notified by the Italian Ministry of Civil Protection on the 23rd, in the past 24 hours, there were 13,331 new confirmed cases and 488 deaths.
As of 18:00 on the 23rd, the cumulative number of confirmed cases nationwide has reached 2455185 cases, with 85162 cumulative deaths and 1871189 cured cases.
On the same day, Italian Minister of Health Speranza signed a decree, from January 24, the Lombardy region will be adjusted from a red epidemic high-risk area, to an orange epidemic moderate prevention area.