EU Blocks Vaccine Shipment to Australia

  • EU Blocks Vaccine Shipment to Australia

EU Blocks Vaccine Shipment to Australia

The Italian government refused and the European Commission supported its decision, the sources said.

Britain, which has left the European Union, has managed to vaccinate millions more of its citizens than any EU state, in part because it is using most of the doses at its disposal for initial shots.

Despite the EU's medical regulator approving the use of AstraZeneca's vaccine for all age groups in January, the rollout was initially met with skepticism after some countries cited insufficient data on its efficacy for older people.

"The Commission will propose its extension into June".

According to Reuters, AstraZeneca had requested permission from Rome to deliver around 250-thousand doses from its manufacturing plant in Italy.

When the EU's export control mechanism was introduced in late January it triggered an outcry from importing countries who feared their vaccine supplies might be affected.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has also called for sanctions on companies that do not respect their contractual obligations with the EU. The EU is one of the world's vaccine-producing powerhouses.

There was no immediate comment from AstraZeneca.

"The exports concerned the following export destinations: Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Japan, Kuwait, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Oman, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uruguay", the official said. Health Minister Greg Hunt said the country had already received its first shipment of the vaccine, which would be enough until a batch being produced domestically by CSL Ltd was completed.

The UK government said the agreement follows assurances from the SII that providing doses to the UK would not impact its commitment to provide vaccines to poorer countries.

Most the shortfall is because AstraZeneca has pledged "best reasonable efforts" to deliver around 100 million doses in that time, but is now on track to supply just 40 percent of that. In January, AstraZeneca stated it would be delivering far fewer doses to the European Union in the spring than initially expected, citing production issues at its plants in the Netherlands and Belgium.

She added, however, that at least one other request was withdrawn by an exporting company.

Export requests mostly concern the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine which is manufactured in Belgium.

It did so in response to an admission from AstraZeneca that it was falling well behind its supply target for the EU.

This is the first time the EU's export control system has been invoked.

The member state can authorise or refuse the export in line with the commission's opinion.