Government blames supply issues for slow vaccine rollout

Henrietta Strickland
Апреля 8, 2021

His government, which received global praise for successfully containing Australia's coronavirus outbreak, has fallen far behind its vaccine rollout schedule.

The Federal Government forecast four million doses would be administered by the end of March when it first announced the program at the beginning of the year.

An EU spokesman said it had rejected only one of a total of 491 Covid-19 vaccine export requests since it enhanced export transparency in late January, and seven requests were now being reviewed.

As Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison faces public anger over sluggish vaccine rollout, he shifted the blame on European Union saying that restricted vaccine supply from Europe was causing hinderance in the country's coronavirus inoculation efforts.

The AstraZeneca vaccine arriving from Europe was to underpin the early stages of Australia's vaccine drive, supplementing 50 million shots of the vaccine that will be produced locally by CSL Ltd. "It's just a simple fact".

A medical worker prepares a dose of Oxford/AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Antwerp, Belgium March 18, 2021.

The University of Oxford has paused a small trial testing the COVID-19 vaccine it developed with AstraZeneca in children and teenagers as it waits for more data on rare blood clotting issues in adults who received the shot.

Australian PM says EU supply issues behind slow vaccine rollout
Government blames supply issues for slow vaccine rollout

However the EU has since denied responsibility, with the chief spokesman for the European Commission telling a press conference there had been no "new decision to block vaccine exports to Australia".

Morrison's government said at the time the Italy move would not affect its overall vaccine rollout plan.

"The EC has been absolutely clear in their public and private statements that no further doses of (the AstraZeneca vaccine) are to be released until they have had their own orders fulfilled", Canberra said.

The export curb underscores massive shortfalls of the AstraZeneca shot across the European Union bloc and complicates Australia's inoculation campaign, which is already 83% behind its original schedule.

Early in the pandemic, Morrison had boasted that Australia would be "at the front of the queue" for vaccines after a slew of deals with AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Novavax.

But public frustration over the actual rollout has prompted angry exchanges last week between the Morrison government and state officials tasked with administering the programme.

PM Scott Morrison says the missing shipments are responsible for Australia not meeting its inoculation schedule.

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