Italy has blocked a shipment of coronavirus vaccines going to Australia - the first time a new EU export control mechanism has been used, Euronews reports.
EU first as Italy blocks export of coronavirus vaccines to Australia
STEPANAKERT, MARCH 5, ARTSAKHPRESS: The government of Mario Draghi, Italy's newly appointed prime minister, asked Brussels for the export to be blocked last Friday.
The European Commission has now given its approval to the request, an EU source told Euronews.
The shipment contained more than 250,000 doses, reported Italian news agency ANSA.
Brussels introduced the export control mechanism in January amid a row with AstraZeneca after the pharmaceutical firm said it be delivering fewer jabs to the EU than planned. The idea was to stop vaccines made in the EU from leaving the bloc if needs be.
Amid criticism of the mechanism, Brussels insisted it had - prior to Italy's request - approved all export requests.
Many countries around the world, like Canada, Japan and Australia, depend upon European plants to procure vaccines for their citizens.