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Australian PM blames EU for gradual vaccine rollout

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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Picture: File
  • Scott Morrison says “strict export controls” launched by EU meant Australia obtained simply 700,000 of three.8 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine.
  • Australia has reportedly obtained 1,000,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which it’s administering to frontline employees.
  • Morrison says he had been reassured by statements from EU officers in a single day that AstraZeneca export requests have been being processed.

SYDNEY: Australia’s prime minister on Wednesday laid the blame on European Union’s restricted vaccine provide for his nation’s abrupt halting of coronavirus inoculation efforts, as he confronted public stress over sluggish rollout.

Scott Morrison stated vaccine shortages and “strict export controls” launched by the European Fee meant Australia obtained simply 700,000 of a contracted 3.8 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

His authorities, which obtained international reward for efficiently containing Australia’s coronavirus outbreak, has fallen far behind its schedule for vaccinating folks.

It had initially pledged to manage 4 million doses by the tip of March, however had as a substitute managed about 850,000 pictures by Wednesday — drawing growing criticism that Morrison tried to handle at a unexpectedly organised press convention.

Learn extra: Australia expects to obtain AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine quickly

“I’m simply explaining to the Australian public that supply issues is what’s constraining and has constrained, particularly over the recent months, the overall rollout of the vaccine,” he stated.

“3.1 million vaccines didn’t arrive in Australia — that’s just a simple fact,” he stated.

“It’s not a dispute. It’s not a conflict. It’s not an argument. It’s not a clash. It’s just a simple fact.”

Australia has reportedly obtained 1,000,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which it’s administering to frontline employees.

However authorities had been relying on imported and domestically made AstraZeneca pictures to cowl many of the inhabitants.

Hassle surfaced final month when Italy blocked the export of 250,000 AstraZeneca doses because it struggled to deal with a extreme coronavirus disaster at house.

Learn extra: Australian scientists have ‘sport changer’ in combat in opposition to coronavirus

Morrison’s authorities stated on the time the Italy transfer wouldn’t have an effect on its general vaccine rollout plan.

‘Our ticket again to regular’

However since then, a wider debate throughout Europe on whether or not to export vaccines when EU nations are struggling to include the virus has additional held up provides.

Morrison stated Wednesday he had been reassured by statements from EU officers in a single day that AstraZeneca export requests have been being processed.

“So, if it is, indeed, the position of the European Union that they are happy for these export licences to be granted… then we would encourage them to do that,” he stated.

Learn extra: Scott Morrison is new Australian PM after bitter coup

Morrison stated he was additionally nonetheless awaiting an EU response to an pressing request for a million of Australia’s AstraZeneca doses to be diverted to neighbouring Papua New Guinea, which is dealing with a worrying COVID-19 surge.

Early within the pandemic, Morrison had boasted that Australia can be “at the front of the queue” for vaccines after a slew of offers with AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Novavax.

However public frustration over the precise rollout has been constructing and prompted offended exchanges final week between the Morrison authorities and state officers tasked with administering a lot of the programme.

“Australia is severely behind schedule with the vaccine rollout,” complained opposition chief Anthony Albanese.

“Scott Morrison needs to stop pretending like there’s no rush. Vaccinations are our ticket back to normal — the government needs to get a move on.”

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