Europe accuses Scott Morrison, MAKING UP claims it stopped three million Covid vaccines entering Australia – and claims they only blocked one shipment of 250,000 at a time
- Australia’s vaccine launch is well behind schedule with just 854,983 shocks delivered
- Scott Morrison has blamed a lack of supply of bumps from the European Union
- The EU says it only blocked 250,000 shocks after the minister said, “They cut us.”
Scott Morrison said Tuesday the country’s vaccination program, which is now set to vaccinate four million Australians, had not been botched but was well behind schedule with 3.1 million shocks not arriving from overseas.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud appeared to be accusing the European Union of preventing AstraZeneca bumps from leaving Europe, saying “they cut us down”.
But European officials denied the guilt, insisting that the block only prevented a small shipment of 250,000 vaccines from traveling from Italy to Australia in March.
CSL employees in Melbourne are rolling out the first batch of AstraZeneca vaccine onto a truck on March 24th
The EU Commission spokesman, Eric Mamer, said at a press conference that the blocked program was much smaller, which has been the case for some time and no further development has taken place since then.
“So we certainly cannot confirm a new decision to block vaccine exports to Australia or any other country,” he added.
To date, only 854,983 vaccines have been issued in Australia. 2.5 million cans have been made in a cold store in a Melbourne factory, awaiting testing.
Anglo-Swedish company AstraZeneca is struggling to meet demand and fulfill its contracts with multiple countries. EU officials accuse him of over-selling his production capacities.
Mr Morrison said after the EU put export controls in place in January, AstraZeneca stopped filing export applications to ship vaccines to Australia.
Scott Morrison said Tuesday the country’s vaccination program was way behind schedule as 3.1 million shocks did not arrive from Europe
The company informed him in January that only 1.2 million vaccines would be shipped in February and March.
He said this was due to a shortage in Europe and AstraZeneca’s awareness of the increasing restrictions on export controls, which is why no applications were made for those 3.8 million cans.
On Wednesday, Mr Morrison denied ever accusing the EU of blocking all exports, saying: “Any suggestion that I criticized the European Union in any way yesterday would be completely wrong.
“All I noticed was one fact: 3.1 million of the contracted vaccines we relied on in early January when we set a series of targets didn’t show up in Australia,” he told reporters.
Mr Morrison said he would write again to the EU and AstraZeneca to request the vaccines, of which he plans to send a million to Papua New Guinea to treat a major outbreak.
Health Department secretary Brendan Murphy said there are no vaccines “in a closet” but 1 million “on the way” to general practitioners.
He said he was confident CSL could produce a million doses a week in Melbourne – but warned that there weren’t enough vaccines yet to set up mass clinics.
Said Australia’s rollout will move forward, the prime minister defended the fact that 2.5 million vaccines are idle at the factory, saying “batch testing” is essential.
“The vaccines that are available to us are being distributed and administered,” he said.