Australia calls for release of 3.1m COVID-19 vaccine doses
Australia has asked the European Union to release more than 3 million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine the country had pre-ordered.
The Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday, after the European Union denied blocking supply.
“If it is indeed the position of the European Union that they are happy for these export licences to be granted and their 3.1 million doses to come to Australia, then we would encourage them to do that,” Morrison said.
The EU said it was not responsible for AstraZeneca’s failure to uphold commitments to other countries.
Morrison said that if the EU permits the exports, Australia will donate 1 million doses to Papua New Guinea, which is struggling to cope amid soaring case numbers.
Last month the EU, at Italy’s request, blocked a shipment of 250,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine to Australia, citing vaccine shortages in Europe.