Moscow: Australia has asked the European Commission to revise the decision to hold up a shipment of 250,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine bound for the Oceania nation following a spat with the manufacturer over delayed deliveries to the European Union, Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Friday.
On Thursday, Italy, in coordination with the EU, blocked the vaccine shipment, invoking new EU regulations allowing exports to be stopped if a vaccine manufacturer has failed to meet its obligations to the bloc.
According to Hunt, as cited by the Australian media, the country was informed about the decision to block the shipment of Wednesday, after which the government immediately requested the review. So far, there is no response, the minister noted.
“It is arguably the most intensely competitive international environment since the Second World War,” Hunt told reporters.
At the same time, Australia has secured domestic production of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“We are very clear that this does not affect the pace of the rollout,” Hunt said, adding that “shipment had not been factored into our distribution to the states and territories.”
The mass vaccination campaign in Australia started on February 22. So far, the country has confirmed nearly 29,002 COVID-19, including 909 fatalities. Over 78 cases are currently active. (Sputnik)