Italy blocks COVID-19 vaccines headed for Australia - RN Breakfast

The Australian Defence Force will help roll out vaccines to aged care residents in rural areas

The Australian Defence Force will help roll out vaccines to aged care residents in rural areas

Extending controls could reignite tensions with countries who rely on shots made in the EU.

The sources said AstraZeneca had requested permission from the Italian government to export some 250,000 doses from its Anagni plant, near Rome.

On Thursday, Italy's Foreign Ministry explained its decision to block AstraZeneca from exporting its vaccine, citing the company's delays in supplying its vaccine to Italy and the European Union, and noting that Australia is not considered a "vulnerable" nation by the EU.

Under the scheme, companies must get an authorisation before exporting COVID-19 shots, and may have export requests denied if they do not respect their supply commitments with the EU.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has also called for sanctions on companies that do not respect their contractual obligations with the EU. And we are one of the few countries in the world that have that capability.

SII, the world's largest vaccine manufacturer by volume, is mass producing the AstraZeneca vaccine, developed with Oxford University, for dozens of poor and middle-income countries.

"The exports concerned the following export destinations: Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Japan, Kuwait, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Oman, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uruguay", the official said.

"This shipment was not factored into our distribution plan for coming weeks", he added.

Prince Philip undergoes procedure for heart condition
The 99-year-old will now remain in hospital for "treatment, rest and recuperation for a number of days", the statement confirmed. While visiting a vaccination centre in London , she said he "hurts at moments", responding to a question from a volunteer there.

Most the shortfall is because AstraZeneca has pledged "best reasonable efforts" to deliver around 100 million doses in that time, but is now on track to supply just 40 percent of that.

Rome's order blocking the dispatch of more than 250,000 doses was accepted by the European Commission, which has fiercely criticised the Anglo-Swedish company this year for supplying just a fraction of the vaccine doses it had promised to deliver to the bloc.

The EU official told CNN that EU member states approved 174 requests for vaccine export authorizations during the period from January 30 to March 1, 2021. She declined to elaborate.

Reuters reported in February that Britain's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) was auditing the manufacturing processes at SII to pave the way for the AstraZeneca vaccine to be shipped from there to the UK.

Since Jan. 30 more than 8 million vaccines were shipped from the European Union to Britain, a third European Union source said.

An EU official, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue, confirmed a report that first appeared in the Financial Times.

The European Commission later adopted new measures giving member states the power to restrict the export of Covid-19 vaccines outside the bloc, in certain situations.

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