Italy blocks AstraZeneca vaccine shipment to Australia
News Desk || risingbd.com
Italy has blocked a shipment of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine that was destined for Australia, in the first intervention since the EU introduced rules over the shipment of vaccines outside the bloc.
Rome stopped the export of 250,000 doses of the vaccine, officials said.
Italy notified Brussels of its move at the end of last week under the EU’s vaccine export transparency regime.
Australia said losing "one shipment" would not badly affect its rollout.
The move has been backed by the European Commission, reports say.
AstraZeneca is on track to provide only 40% of the agreed supply to member states in the first three months of the year. It has cited production problems for the shortfall.
In January, then Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte described delays in vaccine supplies by both AstraZeneca and Pfizer as "unacceptable" and accused the companies of violating their contracts.
The EU has been widely criticised for the slow pace of its vaccination programme.
Under the EU vaccine scheme, which was established in June last year, the bloc has negotiated the purchase of vaccines on behalf of member states.
There has been no official comment on the Italian move by the EU or AstraZeneca.