Published: Mar 05, 2021, 08.29 AM(IST)
The Italian government has blocked the Australia-bound shipment of Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine’s 250,000 doses.
Italy blamed the export ban on the doses produced in an Italian facility on the shortage of vaccines in Europe and a better situation in Australia when it comes to dealing with Covid-19.
By taking such a measure, Italy has become the first EU nation to use the group’s new regulations permitting vaccine exports to be stopped if the company providing them has failed to meet its obligations to the EU.
However, Australia has played down the impact of Italy’s decision, with the health ministry’s spokesperson saying the country is just losing “one shipment” from the country.
Canberra has already received a supply of 300,000 doses of AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine and they will first be used on Friday on the frontline workers.
The current stock of AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine in Australia is expected to last until domestic production ramps up.
“Domestic production starts with one million (doses) per week of deliveries from late March and is on track,” the Australian health ministry spokesperson added.
Meanwhile, the EU has faced a lot of criticism for its slow rollout of vaccines and in January, then Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said it is “unacceptable” on the delay of vaccine supplies by both AstraZeneca and Pfizer.