Pfizer last week said it would temporarily reduce deliveries to Europe and Canada while it upgrades production capacity to two billion doses per year at its Belgium plant.

“This is unacceptable,” Conte said in a Facebook post following the announcement.

“Our vaccination plan ... has been drawn up on the basis of contractual pledges freely undertaken by pharmaceutical companies with the European Commission.”

The Italian government indicated that Pfizer deliveries were down by 29 per cent than originally planned and would also be down by 20 per cent next week.

The head of Italy’s Higher Health Council, Franco Locatelli, told a press conference they were expected to return to the agreed levels from February 1.

Due to the delays, vaccinations in Italy now only range from 20,000-25,000, down from more than 90,000 around two weeks ago, Locatelli said.

The government has threatened to sue Pfizer and Conte said expected delays in the vaccine by AstraZeneca were also disturbing.

The heads of AstraZeneca Italy confirmed the reduction in production capacity at a meeting on Saturday with Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza and COVID-19 Special Commissioner Domenico Arcuri.

Conte said the alterations meant Italy would receive 3.4 million doses of the vaccine instead of eight million in the first quarter.

The European Medicines Agency will rule on the AstraZeneca vaccine on January 29 and Locatelli said the government would have to reassess the vaccination program after that.

So far 1.31 million doses of vaccine have been administered in Italy, placing the country second in the EU, after Germany.