- The EU has blocked a cargo of Covid-19 vaccines certain for Australia.
- Officials confirmed to Insider that Italy determined to block the export of 250,000 AstraZeneca vaccines made in the nation.
- Rome used EU powers launched final month to restrict the export of vaccines amid provide considerations.
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Italy has blocked a shipment of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine which was bound for Australia, in the first use of emergency powers the EU introduced last month to limit the export of vaccines amid concerns about their supply.
European officials confirmed to Insider that Italy last week decided to block the export of 250,000 AstraZeneca vaccines made in the country in a bid to shore up the EU’s own supplies of the vaccine.
Most European member states have struggled to launch effective vaccination campaigns and have fallen well behind the UK and the US in terms of vaccination rates.
Rome used powers under the European Commission’s newly introduced vaccine exports authorisation mechanism.
Mario Draghi, Italy’s new prime minister, has taken a tough line on Italy’s vaccination efforts, asking fellow EU leaders last month why the bloc was not imposing stricter measures on vaccine exports, the Financial Times reported.
The European Commission launched the controversial vaccine export mechanism final month amid a row with AstraZeneca and the UK authorities over vaccine provide shortages.
European officers appeared to suspect that the British-headquartered medicine agency could have been diverting a few of its EU-made vaccine supplies to the UK, which it mentioned would have represented a breach of contract.
Under the scheme, member states to block the export of domestically made vaccines which can be certain for different counties.
The Commission had the proper to veto Italy’s determination if it disagreed with it however declined to, EU officers confirmed to Insider. The Financial Times reported that Italy notified Brussels of its determination final week.
The transfer dangers considerably rising already fraught world tensions round coronavirus vaccine supplies.
The International Chamber of Commerce final month warned that the EU’s introduction of vaccine export controls might have “devastating implications” on the world provide of vaccines, in a letter seen by Business Insider.
They mentioned that any transfer to restrict vaccine exports from the EU risked retaliatory measures from international locations that might harm world vaccination efforts.
“As you will be aware, vaccine supply chains are inherently global in nature – indeed, some inputs required for approved Covid-19 vaccinations can only be sourced in a handful of countries,” wrote John Denton, Secretary General of the ICC, in a letter to the Commission.
“In this context, our fast concern is that the proposed EU export controls threat triggering retaliatory actions by third international locations that might very quickly erode important provide chains.