France said Friday it's going to follow Italy in blocking Covid-19 vaccine shipments as concerns about vaccine nationalism rise.The comments by French Health Minister Olivier Véran came the day after Rome invoked European Union powers to dam the export of 250,000 Covid-19 AstraZeneca vaccine doses to Australia, during a dramatic escalation of a dispute between the bloc and therefore the drug giant."Of course, I understand what Italy did," Véran said during an interview with CNN affiliate BFM on Friday. "We could do an equivalent thing."
A spokesperson for Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi told CNN that Italy and therefore the European Commission had agreed on the action. this is often the primary time that such EU measures are used for vaccines. AstraZeneca's supply chain includes a producing plant in Anagni, Italy."We are closely discussing with Italians, also like all our European partners to possess a eu approach on the difficulty ." Véran said.
"Since the primary day, France has believed during a shared European approach," he added.In late January, a public and acrimonious fight erupted between the EU and AstraZeneca over vaccine delays, after the corporate advised the bloc that it might deliver tens of millions fewer doses than agreed by the top of March.
The European Commission later adopted new measures giving member states the facility to limit the export of vaccines outside the bloc, in certain situations. Italy justified invoking the powers by citing AstraZeneca's delays in supplying its vaccine to Italy and therefore the EU, and noting that Australia isn't considered a "vulnerable" nation to Covid-19 by the EU.
"The message is extremely clearly ... that we expect companies with which the ecu Union has signed advanced purchasing agreements, to try to to their utmost to suits the contracts with the delivery contracts that they need with the with the Member States," Eric Mamer, the ecu Union's chief spokesperson, said Friday.
He added: "The fact is that the ecu Union (EU) may be a major exporter of vaccine doses."
"We have always said, that we were actually in intense discussions with the corporate so as to make sure the respect of the schedule of deliveries because EMA has authorized this vaccine, and that we are urging member states to use it."
The European Commission's executive vice chairman for trade, Valdis Dombrovskis, discussed the matter together with his Australian counterpart Dan Tehan during a turn Friday."While we understand the political pressures at play within Europe, blocking exports to satisfy domestic vaccination targets may be a very dangerous card for policymakers to play," John Denton, the Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) warned during a statement Thursday.
He added: "The challenge of getting vaccines to everyone, everywhere -- at once -- will only be met through a collaborative global effort to scale manufacturing and speed distribution efforts. it isn't too late for governments to vary course and avert the large economic and social risks of a protracted pandemic."
Véran's remarks come each day after France announced plans to accelerate the country's coronavirus vaccine rollout program, with a rise in deliveries expected, consistent with French PM Jean Castex."The delivery of doses to France will increase within the coming weeks," Castex said during a press briefing on Thursday.
"We also will be ready to use the AstraZeneca vaccine more widely. The High Authority for Health has indicated that folks over 65 are now eligible for this vaccine," Castex added, noting that the govt aims to vaccinate quite 20 million people by mid-May.The EU's vaccine rollout has continued to falter, pushing some increasingly frustrated member states to show to outside nations for assistance. Only 5.5% of the EU population of 447 million has received a primary vaccine dose, consistent with data from the planet Health Organization (WHO).