AstraZeneca dismisses claim 29m vaccine doses in Italy were bound for UK | Italy

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AstraZeneca has dismissed as “inaccurate” a report in the Italian press that 29m doses of its Covid-19 vaccine found in factory near Rome were destined for the UK.

La Stampa reported on Wednesday that the doses – almost twice the amount the EU has so far received from AstraZeneca – were found “hidden” in the factory following a search by Italian police on Saturday at the request of the European commission, and that they were probably destined for the UK.

AstraZeneca said no exports were currently planned other than to developing countries via the Covax facility, and it was incorrect to describe the batches in the factory – run by the US-based company Catalent to provide vial filling and packaging to AstraZeneca – as a “stockpile”.

“There are 13m doses of vaccine waiting for quality control release to be dispatched to Covax as part of our commitment to supply millions of doses to low-income countries, the vaccine was made outside the EU and brought to the Anagni plant to be filled into vials,” the company said.

It added that a further 16m doses were waiting for quality control release before being dispatched to Europe. “Close to 10m doses will be delivered to EU countries during the last week of March, [and] the balance in April as the doses are approved for release after quality control.”

A statement from the office of the Italian prime minister, Mario Draghi, confirmed that the Anagni plant had been inspected at the commission’s request and that the batches found were destined for Belgium.

The newspaper report threatened to further stoke an ongoing row between the EU and the UK over vaccine supplies before an EU summit on Thursday that will discuss a possible ban on vaccine exports from the bloc.

Draghi caused controversy this month after blocking 250,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses from being exported from the Anagni plant to Australia in response to the company failing to meet its EU delivery targets.

Hafta Ichi
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: AstraZeneca dismisses claim 29m vaccine doses in Italy were bound for UK | Italy

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