20:16 GMT28 February 2021
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    Earlier this week the company said it would supply fewer doses of the inoculation because of work to upgrade its factory in Belgium. The head of the Italian Medicines Agency, AIFA, described the announcement as being “very concerning”.

    Italy will reportedly sue Pfizer for delays in supplying coronavirus vaccines, local channel Rai 24 announced, citing Minister for Regional Affairs Francesco Boccia. "We demand clarity and respect for our country on the European agreements made," the Minister said, according to local media. Boccia emphasised that in future there should be no shortfall in supplies of vaccines without warning.

    The move comes two days after 14 regions in Italy halted their inoculation campaign on the news that Pfizer will delay deliveries of its vaccine. Only six regions - Abruzzo, Basilicata, Marche, Molise, Umbria and Valle d'Aosta – continued their programme. In some regions doctors were reportedly told to set aside 30 percent of available Pfizer supplies to ensure that second doses are administered without a problem.

    Announcing the lawsuit against Pfizer, Boccia reportedly repeated that there was a need to stock vaccines.

    What Did Pfizer Say?

    Earlier this week the company said it had to cut deliveries to Italy by 29 percent because of disruption caused by the upgrade to its plant. However, the company failed to tell Italy how long it would take before deliveries can resume in full. Pfizer has since said it would resume deliveries on 25 January. Local media say that the delay has caused Italy a shortfall of 165,000 doses.

    What is The Situation With Coronavirus in Italy?

    Once Europe’s worst-affected nation, the country managed to cope with the outbreak during the summer. The second wave of COVID-19 (in autumn) saw cases increase sixfold. In winter the situation started improving slowly but Italy still has the second-worst death toll in Europe. According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 83,000 people have died since the outbreak began in the country. The total number of infected stands at 2.4 million.

    COVID-19, lawsuit, Pfizer, Italy
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