Source: Virginia Mayo/Arizona Daily Star
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  • The E.U. has blocked a shipment of Australia-bound AstraZeneca vaccines after the drug manufacturer failed to meet its European contract commitments
  • 250,000 doses were due to be exported from its Anagni plant near Rome, but AstraZeneca’s request was declined
  • The decision comes as the E.U. plans to extend its export authorisation scheme for COVID-19 vaccines until the end of June
  • Under the scheme, companies must receive authorisation before exporting COVID-19 vaccines, and and could have their export requests denied if they do not respect their supply commitments with the E.U.
  • Due to expire at the end of March, the mechanism was set up at the end of January in response to delays in vaccine deliveries

The E.U. has blocked a shipment of Australia-bound AstraZeneca vaccines after the drug manufacturer failed to meet its European contract commitments.

AstraZeneca had requested permission from the Italian government to export some 250,000 doses from its Anagni plant, near Rome, but its request was declined.

Health Minister Greg Hunt noted that Australia had already received its first shipment of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which would be enough until a batch produced domestically by CSL was completed.

“This is one shipment from one country,” he said. “This shipment was not factored into our distribution plan for coming weeks.”

The E.U.’s decision comes as it plans to extend its export authorisation scheme for COVID-19 vaccines until the end of June, which could reignite tensions with countries who rely on shots made in Europe.

Under the scheme, companies must receive authorisation before exporting COVID-19 vaccines, and and could have their export requests denied if they do not respect their supply commitments with the E.U.

Due to expire at the end of March, the mechanism was set up at the end of January in response to delays in vaccine deliveries.

“The Commission will propose its extension into June. And that was greeted by the member states with approval, not necessarily enthusiasm, but there is a feeling that we still need that mechanism,” said a senior E.U. diplomat.

A second official added that at a meeting with E.U. diplomats on Wednesday, many countries supported the measure — including Germany and France.

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