The Italian government has sent US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer a letter of notice to meet its contractual obligations for supplying the Covid-19 vaccine it is producing together with BioNTech.

“The State Attorney General’s Office has sent Pfizer a formal notice to comply with its contractual obligations relating to its failure to deliver vaccine doses,” the office for Italy’s special commissioner on the Covid emergency said in a statement.  

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The commissioner, Domenico Arcuri, is also looking into possible further action to ensure the continuation of the country’s coronavirus vaccination campaign, the statement added, whether on a national or European level. 

Pfizer recently announced it would be temporarily reducing its deliveries to Canada and the EU while it upgraded its manufacturing site in Belgium. The drop is expected to be mitigated somewhat by the fact that each vial contains an extra dose – meaning that even though fewer vials are delivered, every one offers a higher dosage per unit. Italian health regulators have already approved the use of the extra dose, which is typically included to allow for any accidental spillage or loss while administering from the vial. 

Several European health ministers penned a letter to Pfizer earlier this month to complain about the delivery dip, saying it could have a negative impact on the credibility of the vaccine process.

On Friday, another Covid-19 vaccine-maker revealed it would be delivering fewer vaccines than planned when AstraZeneca informed EU leaders its output would be delayed due to manufacturing issues. 

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FILE PHOTO: A medical staff member receives the first Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 disease vaccine delivery at the UZ Leuven hospital, Leuven, on December 26, 2020 as begins a vaccination programme in EU countries.
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