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UPDATE 1-EU countries could band to sue AstraZeneca for breach of contract -Latvia

(changes sourcing direct to minister, adds details)

VILNIUS, Jan 26 (Reuters) - European Union member states could take AstraZeneca to court for a breach of supply contracts if the company does not honour the COVID-19 vaccine delivery schedule, Latvian foreign affairs minister Edgars Rinkevics said on Tuesday.

“The possibility should be evaluated, and it should be coordinated among the EU countries,” the minister told Reuters, via his spokesman.

Each EU member state has a separate supply contract with the company.

AstraZeneca, which developed its shot with Oxford University, told the EU on Friday it could not meet agreed supply targets up to the end of March.

“Coordinated court cases would be more effective way to ensure that AstraZeneca keeps to its commitments than unilateral legal action from member states,” a senior official from another EU state with knowledge of the considerations told Reuters.

Italy said on Sunday it would take legal action against Pfizer and AstraZeneca over delays in deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines. (Reporting by Andrius Sytas; Editing by Alison Williams and Catherine Evans)

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