Ireland is set to receive 300,000 fewer doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine due to a failure in EU deliveries.

After the EU struck a deal with the pharmaceutical company Astrazenica, Ireland was to receive 600,000 doses by the end of March. Now the Department of Health admits that the final figure may be as low as half that.

As a result, this means that Ireland is looking at 1.1 million vaccinations in the first quarter of 2021, rather than the 1.4 million that was initially planned, and the government is expected to fall short of their vaccination goals.

The government is now forced to come up with backup plans for the event that they won’t be able to administer the AstraZeneca vaccine to over 65s. Instead they may use the Pfzier vaccine to immunize the elderly, and use whatever AstraZeneca jabs Ireland receives to inoculate the younger healthcare staff.

There have been continent-wide vaccine rollout delays and halts due to the EU’s bungling of delivery, causing supply issues in France, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal. There have also been supply issues with the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine, who have pushed many of their deliveries back by several weeks.

The EU’s vaccination campaign is among the slowest in the developed world, with only two doses having been administered per every 100 Europeans, compared with 7 in the US and 11 in Britain.

Spanish news outlet, El País, says the slow vaccine delivery is a “lethal threat to the EU” and poses a “political risk” for the entire union.

“A failure of the vaccination plan would unleash a crisis of European institutions’ competence and confidence in them, which is difficult to restore.”

Germany’s State broadcaster, ZDF, said that blame can be placed at the feet of the EU for “massively overestimating” the production capacities of manufacturers and “underestimating” the price.

“There is suspicion that manufacturers are delivering faster to countries that are paying higher prices.”

Italy has even threatened legal action against Pfizer and AstraZeneca over these catastrophic delays.

“This isn’t about geopolitics: it’s a race against the spread of the mutations,” Alessio D’Amato, regional head of the Department of Health for Rome said.

Some countries in Europe are even going elsewhere for their vaccine needs, such as Hungary, who controversially purchased Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine before it was approved by the EU.

Krónika, a Romanian news outlet, has said that this decision is perfectly fair in the face of crippling supply problems according to BBC news.

“The Hungarian leadership has at least made an effort to find a solution to the crisis,” they said, with Italy calling on the European Medicines Agency to approve the Russian vaccine as a matter of urgency.