Bottles of AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine (COVID-19) during the first day of mass vaccination of police and firefighters at Wanda Metropolitan Stadium.
Marcos del Mazo LightRocket | Getty Images
LONDON – The European Union carried out the first supply intervention coronavirus vaccines, and Italy blocked a shipment of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine to Australia on Thursday.
Reuters, citing two sources, reported that British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca had asked permission from Rome to deliver about 250,000 doses from its plant in Anagnia, Italy. However, the Italian government refused. The Financial Times also reported on the same story and an EU official, who preferred to remain anonymous, later confirmed the move to CNBC.
An AstraZeneca spokesman declined to comment when CNBC contacted him. A spokesman for the Italian Foreign Ministry was not immediately available for comment.
In January, The European Union has carried out temporary controls on the export of vaccines produced within the block, after an argument with AstraZeneca and broader supply issues. The EU was under pressure for what critics describe as the slow introduction of Covid vaccines.
The European Commission, the institution that runs the buyout contracts, has been accused of failing to provide enough vaccines, and a medical agency in the region has been criticized for approving vaccinations that have been given the green light elsewhere for too long.
The controls will last until the end of March and will give member states the authority to refuse to approve exports if vaccine manufacturers do not comply with the agreements.
In January, AstraZeneca said it would deliver much fewer doses in the spring than initially expected, due to production problems at its plants in the Netherlands and Belgium. January 31, then he said he would deliver 9 million additional doses in the first quarter to try to make up for the shortfall.