Australia calls for release of 3.1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses if EU not blocking exports
Australia said on ดาวน์โหลด slotxo it will ask the European Union to release more than 3 million doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine, testing Brussel's claim it is not blocking shipments, as the country struggles to vaccinate its population.
The European Union on Tuesday denied blocking vaccine shipments to Australia, which has fallen dramatically behind in its scheduled vaccination programme. The EU said it was not responsible for AstraZeneca's failure to uphold commitments to other countries.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia was asked by the EU to withdraw export permit applications and letters requesting supplies have gone unanswered.
Morrison said if the EU was now indicating its willingness to release shipments, he would again ask for the 3.1 million doses to be released. The 3.1 million doses were scheduled to arrive in Australia by the end of March.
"We obviously want those millions of doses," Morrison told reporters in the capital Canberra.
"Given statements made overnight, that apparently there is no obstruction to that and then I would hope that could be readily addressed."
Morrison said that if the EU permits the exports, Australia will donate 1 million doses to Papua New Guinea, which is struggling to cope amid soaring case numbers.
Last month the EU, at Italy's request, blocked a shipment of 250,000 doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine to Australia, citing vaccine shortages in Europe.
It later denied Australia's request to review the blockage, the first such refusal since Brussels established a mechanism to monitor vaccine flows in late January.
The vaccine dispute between Australia and the EU underscores massive shortfalls of the AstraZeneca shot across the EU and the impact of any vaccine export curbs on countries that had pre-ordered doses.
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