ROME — Italy’s virus czar is pressing ahead with plans to take legal action against Pfizer after the U.S. pharmaceutical company announced delays in delivering pre-ordered COVID-19 vaccines to Europe.
Domenico Arcuri said he had secured unanimous backing from Italy’s regional governors to take civil or criminal action, where possible. In a statement late Tuesday, he said: “It was unanimously decided that such action will be taken in the coming days.”
Pfizer confirmed last week it would temporarily reduce deliveries to Europe and Canada while it upgrades production capacity to 2 billion doses per year at its Belgium plant. Arcuri said the delay would amount to a 29% reduction in upcoming deliveries to Italy.
In announcing the impending legal action, Arcuri said: “The health care of Italian citizens isn’t negotiable.”
As of Wednesday, Italy had administered more than 1.2 million vaccine shots, or 76% of the doses already delivered to Italian regions.