Pfizer pledges to continue vaccine supply even if Italy files lawsuit
Published: Jan 29, 2021 09:27 AM

Pfizer Photo:VCG

The head of the Italian division of US-based pharmaceutical giant Pfizer said on Thursday that her company will continue to honor its contract to provide coronavirus vaccines to Italy even if Italy follows through on its plan to sue Pfizer for falling behind on vaccine deliveries.

Paivi Kerkola, chief executive officer (CEO) of Pfizer Italia Srl., told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica that her company will "continue to supply the vaccine as envisaged by the agreements with the European Commission." A Pfizer Italia official confirmed Kerkola's remarks when contacted by Xinhua.

The European Commission has concluded supply agreements with Pfizer and other coronavirus vaccine makers, and the vaccines would then be allocated among the European Union (EU) member states.

While Pfizer and its partner, Germany's BioNTech, have acknowledged that there was a slowdown in vaccine deliveries over the past two weeks, Kerkola said supply would return to "normal levels" this week.

On Monday, Italy filed a complaint with the EU against Pfizer, BioNTech and AstraZeneca, another drug maker, for failing to deliver coronavirus vaccines quickly enough. On Tuesday, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte threatened to sue the companies as well, but so far no formal lawsuit has been filed.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the first approved and most widely used jab in Italy.

Pharmaceutical giant Moderna's vaccine has also been authorized for use in Italy, while AstraZeneca's alternative product is awaiting approval.

Meanwhile, 236 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide, according to information released by the World Health Organization Tuesday. Sixty-three of them, from countries including Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States, are in clinical trials.
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