Australia asks the European Commission to review Italy’s vaccine block. Italy has decided to block the export of 250,000 doses of AstraZeneca. The vaccine has been stopped by the county.
This ban is the first time that EU exports have been blocked using new rules in the case the drug supplier fails to meet the commitments. This decision has increased tension between the EU and AstraZeneca due to issues in providing vaccine and delay in meeting obligations.
Australia says that losing “one shipment” would not affect the rollout badly.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says that he could understand Italy’s decision to block the export of vaccine while he is requesting the European Commission for the review.
He also says that he is aware of the fact that people are dying at a higher rate in Italy and there is much anxiety about it. “In Italy, people are dying at the rate of 300 a day. And so, I can certainly understand the high level of anxiety that would exist in Italy and many countries across Europe” says Prime Minister.
As Italy faced a bad and severe attack of the pandemic, the decision to block the vaccine of AstraZeneca has been supported by the European Commission as reported.
Italy has a higher rate of confirmed cases and death than Australia. There have more than 2.9M registered cases of COVID-19 and around 99,000 deaths in Italy, while Australia only has 900 deaths and 29,000 confirmed cases.
The Finance Minister of Australia says “The world is in unchartered territory at present – it’s unsurprising that some countries would tear up the rule book.”
Dr Omar Khorshid, the president of the Australian Medical Association says that it is sad that “vaccine nationalism rearing its head”.
Italian government conveyed to the European Commission last week that they are willing to block the shipment from the Anagni plant. The foreign ministry of Italy elaborated that the former requests were accepted as there were only limited samples to test them scientifically. The latest request was blocked and it was larger.
Health Minister of France Olivier Veran says that they might be intended to do the same with the vaccines made there.
Germany’s health minister Jens Spahn says that drug providers must obey their commitments and respect their contracts to EU countries. Germany does not find any reason to block the shipment of vaccines so far.
AstraZeneca’s production plant is not in Germany but some of the bottled packing and final product is prepared there.
Italy has decided this move of blocking shipment in the support of Europe, said Corriere Della Sera. While Australia is angry with the move of Italy, says Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of Germany.
The relationship of Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company ‘AstraZeneca’ and the European Commission could not be “thornier” says Spain’s ABC.
A deal was settled between AstraZeneca and the EU in August for 300 million doses of vaccine and an exception for 100 million more. The deal experienced delays at the Belgium and Netherland plants.