Italy 'blocks' AstraZeneca vaccine shipment to Australia

Elias Hubbard
Марта 5, 2021

Australia has asked the European Commission to review a decision by Italy to block a shipment of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine, while stressing on Friday the missing doses would not affect the rollout of Australia's inoculation programme.

The independent committee, known by its German acronym StiKo, advised waiting 12 weeks between administering the first and second AstraZeneca shots, as studies show this increases the vaccine's effectiveness, Spahn said.

"The vaccine commission now recommends the AstraZeneca vaccine for people over 65 as well".

The Financial Times first reported on Thursday of the ban - put in place by Italy.

Its the first time an European Union country has flexed its new export control system, brought in to try to ensure big pharmaceutical companies respect their contracts.

The sources said AstraZeneca had requested permission from the Italian government to export some 250,000 doses from its Anagni plant, near Rome.

Many E.U. countries say AstraZeneca is not being transparent about its manufacturing process and why it has failed to meet contractual targets for vaccine deliveries in the E.U., even while it does not appear to have that problem elsewhere.

Australian lawmakers said they were unfazed.

Ms von der Leyen said she agreed with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that vaccine factories in the United Kingdom and Europe would deliver doses to the EU.

"This shipment was not factored into our distribution plan for coming weeks".

AstraZeneca, which is fully supplying the United Kingdom in its world-leading rollout, is now on just 40% of its pledged 100 million doses to the EU.

Canada received 500,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca this week and Ontario has said those doses will be given to people between the ages of 60 and 64.

"This is one shipment from one country", he said.

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

The EU thought it had made ideal preparations for the rollout of vaccinations, heavily funding research and production capacity over the past year.

Britain has so far prevented the export of AstraZeneca vaccines to the European Union, using a UK-first clause in its supply contract with the Anglo-Swedish firm, European Union officials have said.

The EU has vaccinated some 8% of its population compared to more than 30% in the UK.

"I can tell you that the batch testing for the AstraZeneca vaccine that has arrived has been completed, and it's being distributed to the states, and I understand the first of those vaccines will be administered in South Australia tomorrow", Mr Morrison said.

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