Australians take the high road after Italy, EU actions to block their vaccine shipment

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison

“In Italy people are dying at the rate of 300 a day. And so I can certainly understand the high level of anxiety that would exist in Italy and in many countries across Europe.”

That was the response of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison after Italy took actions to prevent the delivery of 250,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to Australia in a move authorised by the European Commission.

Based on the report first published by the Financial Times, the Italian government defended its actions by citing the huge shortfall in AstraZeneca’s vaccine commitments to Italy and the European Union, and pointing out that Australia was a “non-vulnerable” country.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi

While Australian officials have chosen to stay level-headed after the incident, they are now calling on the European Commission to review its decision.

In January, the EU implemented an export control system for Covid-19 vaccines for the purpose of ensuring that pharmaceutical companies will honor their contracts with the EU.

The measure was drafted after AstraZeneca failed to supply the amount of vaccine doses promised to the EU early this year.