By Chris King • 06 March 2021 • 1:57
Italy Says 250,000 Vaccine Dose Block Was 'Not A Hostile Act' Against Australia.
ITALY Says 250,000 Vaccine Dose Block Decision Was ‘Not A Hostile Act’ Against Australia
Luigi Di Maio, the Italian foreign affairs minister, speaking on Friday (March 5), at a news conference following a meeting with his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, spoke about his country’s decision to block a shipment of AstraZeneca vaccine doses bound for Australia.
Minister Di Maio said, “All of Europe is now ravaged by the British variant, and by the concern for the increase in infections. In coordination with the European institutions, we have decided not to allow the export of these 250,000 doses. It is not a hostile act towards Australia. We have only applied an EU regulation approved on January 30th”.
The decision to block the vaccine export came after AstraZeneca had failed to fulfill its contracted promises on deliveries to the EU, saying that during the first quarter of 2021, instead of the contracted 90 million doses, they would only be able to supply 40 million, owing to a production problem at one of its EU sites.
A mechanism under which vaccine suppliers would need to gain authorisation for exports out of the EU was drawn up in January amid concerns that doses made in the bloc were being delivered to the UK.
Olivier Véran, France’s health minister, on Friday, said his government could possibly also follow in Italy’s steps due to the shortage of vaccines available in Europe right now.
While the German health minister, Jens Spahn, expressed caution over the long-term impact on global vaccine supplies when he said, “With a measure like that, in the short term there’s a win, but we have to be careful that it doesn’t cause us problems in the medium term by disrupting the supply chains for vaccines and everything that’s needed in terms of precursors”.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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