The European Commission has been asked by Australia to review Italy’s decision to block the export of 250,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to the country.
The move has heightened tension between AstraZeneca and EU counties over the supply issues and delays.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said while he had requested the review, he could understand why Italy made the decision. He stated “In Italy, people are dying at the rate of 300 a day. And so, I can certainly understand the high level of anxiety that would exist in Italy and in many countries across Europe”.
Italy has been badly hit by the pandemic, with more than 2.9 cases and nearly 99,000 deaths. On the other hand, Australia has reported just over 29,000 cases and 900.
Italy’s decision to block the exports has reportedly been backed by the European Commission. However, there has been no official statement on the Italian move by the EU and AstraZeneca.
Italy’s foreign ministry stated that Australia was not on a list of “vulnerable” countries, that there was a permanent shortage of vaccines in the EU and Italy, and that the number of doses was high compared to the amount given to Italy and to the EU as a whole.