World Italy Blocks Australia’s AstraZeneca Vaccines Under EU Rule
Merkel says she won't take AstraZeneca COVID vaccine because she's too old as 1.4 million jabs are left unused
The German chancellor said she wasn't eligible because the vaccine isn't approved for over-65s in Germany.The pace of Europe's vaccine rollout has fallen dramatically behind that of the United Kingdom, partly because millions of people are reportedly refusing to take the AstraZeneca vaccine due to widespread mistrust of the AstraZeneca vaccine after European leaders cast doubt on its effectiveness.
(Bloomberg) -- Italy has blocked a shipment of the AstraZeneca Plc’s coronavirus vaccine to Australia, using a recently introduced European Union regulation for the first time, in a move that risks triggering a global backlash.
Under the so-called export transparency mechanism, countries have to inform the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, of their decisions to block or allow exports of vaccines outside the bloc. The commission didn’t oppose Italy’s decision, an EU official said. The company declined to comment.
The move comes after Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi called during an EU summit last week for a tougher approach against companies that don’t respect their delivery commitments.
Only a quarter of the doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine received in France have been used
© Copyright 2021, L'Obs The Ministry of Health recognizes the “problem” of under-consumption of this vaccine but is counting on the extension of its use by town doctors and for 65-75 year olds with co-morbidities to sell stocks. Vaccination against Covid-19 in France continues to skate.
The Italian foreign ministry said the decision involving 250,700 doses was taken as a consequence of continued vaccine scarcity in Europe and Italy, and taking into account AstraZeneca supply delays. It also said Australia was considered a “non vulnerable” country.
The impact is likely to be largely symbolic given that the number of the vaccines blocked is relatively small compared to the company’s expected deliveries in the EU and elsewhere. But the move highlights Draghi’s intention to be tougher on pharmaceutical companies that don’t respect their commitments to the EU, and could encourage retaliatory protectionist measures by other governments.
After mixed messages, Europe warns against vaccine shopping
PARIS (AP) — First, France's president suggested that the AstraZeneca vaccine was “quasi-ineffective” in protecting older people from COVID-19. Now, Emmanuel Macron's government is begging people to take it. Germany finds itself in a similar situation. Berlin shifted gears on its cautious policy this week after an independent vaccine panel said the AstraZeneca shots should be used in people over 65. Top German officials on Friday argued against “vaccine shopping” and urged people to take whatever potential protection they’re offered.Mixed messaging has left many people in both countries confused or distrustful of governmental guidance on the AstraZeneca jab.
In January, the EC introducedon exports of coronavirus vaccines if drugmakers fail to meet delivery targets within the bloc. The rules came into force after AstraZeneca had informed the EU that it was unable to meet its commitments under an advance purchase agreement.
Italy is the first country so far to block the export of vaccines outside the EU, while over 170 requests have so far been authorized, according to a separate EU diplomat.
The decision could reignite concerns echoed by many including the World Health Organization that the EU is engaging in damaging protectionism, at a time when countries around the world race to immunize their populations amid growing concerns over fast-spreading coronavirus variants.
Asked by a reporter in Sydney on Friday whether he blamed Italian authorities for the block, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “They’re certainly responsible for exercising the veto right they had through the EU process about those supplies coming to Australia.”
Italy has blocked a shipment of COVID-19 vaccines for Australia as the EU escalates its row with AstraZeneca
Italy has stopped Astrazeneca from exporting coronavirus vaccines to Australia as Europe struggles to secure supplies.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.
“It’s important contracts are honored,” Morrison said.
Australia’s health minister, Greg Hunt, downplayed the impact even as the nation starts its rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The company had a “deep, broad, global supply chain,” Hunt said.
Still, Italy’s move was a reflection of “arguably the most intensely competitive international environment since, perhaps, the Second World War” as nations jostle to secure vaccines, masks and ventilators, Hunt told reporters.
Australia began its rollout of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine about two weeks ago. It’s set to start domestic production of the AstraZeneca product, targeting 1 million doses a week from late March.
The nation of 26 million people has recordedof Covid-19 since the pandemic began, and has come close to eliminating community transmission of the virus through mandatory 14-day quarantine for overseas arrivals, vigilant contact tracing methods and encouraging frequent testing.
The EU has so far administered doses equivalent to just over 8% of its population, compared to 32.3% and 24.3% in the U.K. and the U.S. respectively, according to Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker. The bloc’s target is to inoculate at least 70% of the region’s adult population by the end of the summer.
COVID: Several European countries halt use of AstraZeneca vaccine
Denmark, Iceland and Norway have stopped administering the shot while Italy has banned the use of a batch of AstraZeneca doses as a precaution after an unconfirmed number of people developed blood clots. © Jesus Merida/Zuma/picture alliance Provided by Deutsche Welle Health authorities in Denmark, Norway and Iceland on Thursday suspended the use of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine after reports of blood clots among some people who had received the inoculation. The Danish Health Authority on Thursday halted the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for 14 days.
The export controls may also prove to be a growing headache for drugmakers with so many manufacturing sites in the EU. Most companies at the forefront of the vaccine effort have production capacity in the bloc that is used to serve countries beyond it, or must be sent outside for completion before returning.
Johnson & Johnson, which is expected to receive approval for its vaccine from Europe’s medicines regulator next week, explicitly agreed in its contract with the EU that it would be sending vaccines to the U.S. to be put in vials and packaged before returning them.
Draghi asked leaders at the latest summit to adopt a more resolute and pragmatic approach to speed up vaccinations and told them the EU’s rollout has to move much faster. He wasn’t convinced by a slide shown to leaders indicating that available doses will be sufficient to vaccinate the bulk of the bloc’s population by the end of September. Draghi said deliveries in the second and third quarters couldn’t be predicted.
The newly installed Italian premier is working on an overhaul of Italy’s slow and uneven vaccination campaign, focusing on logistics and recruiting the military to help, as new variants accelerate the spread of the coronavirus.
(Updates with comments from Australia’s Morrison in 9th paragraph)
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Sweden is latest country to stop using AstraZeneca vaccine .
BERLIN (AP) — Sweden on Tuesday became the latest European country to pause use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine amid reports of dangerous blood clots in some recipients. The company and international regulators continue to say the vaccine is safe, however, and many countries elsewhere in the world are forging ahead with their vaccination campaigns. The move by the Swedish Public Health Agency is pending an investigation by the European Medicines Agency. ”The decision is a precautionary measure,” Swedish chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said in a statement.