Earlier today, Italy stunned Australia by deciding to block a shipment of AstraZeneca doses to the country. The decision to block the export of about 250,000 vaccine doses from Italy was later approved by the EU, after the drug company failed to meet its contract commitments. In response, Victorian Liberal MP Katie Allen appeared to mock the EU, claiming the bloc were in “absolute chaos” and “panicking”.
Speaking to Sky News Australia, Ms Allen said the disruption to the vaccine rollout caused by Italy’s decision to block a shipment of AstraZeneca doses to Australia is likely to be “minimum”.
She pointed out that the shipment was a fraction of the total vaccines Australia has procured, adding that the country “has got different options”.
Ms Allen said: “I understand that Europe must be panicking with how they are dealing with Covid.
“But that doesn’t mean a business plan started last year shouldn’t be rolled out.”
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She said the move shows the “absolute chaos” of vaccines in the EU, adding that Australia was already moving to produce vaccines inside the country.
The MP added: “It is very disappointing when we are let down but we have a plan so Australians are in a good position to stay safe.
“Our government has a diversified portfolio of vaccines. We have 150 million vaccines that we have been able to deliver, so we have lots of choice and options.
“250,000 is a lot of vaccine, but that being said we have many different choices and options.”
This is the latest incident in a feud between the EU and AstraZeneca, which had said it would only be able to deliver about 40 percent of the doses it agreed with the EU in the first quarter.
Olivier Veran, the French health minister, said on Friday that his country could join Italy in blocking shipments of vaccines to non-EU countries .
He told French TV: “I understand the Italian position. We could do the same thing.
“We’ll see. The more doses France has, the happier I will be as health minister.
“We believe in a European approach. France has the right to talk to its European neighbours to ensure that laboratories respect their commitments and contracts.
“That seems to me to be common sense.”