Today (8 April) it was revealed that over 700,000 AstraZeneca doses manufactured in the UK are being sent to Australia – with a confirmed 300,000 vaccines in Sydney at the end of February
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, over 700,000 AstraZeneca doses have been shipped from the UK to Australia. The knowledge was kept hidden to avoid “controversy” in the UK, which is currently in the process of changing guidelines about AstraZeneca use.
The paper revealed that 300,000 doses were sent on 28 February, 2021. A further delivery was made in March, bringing the total up to 717,000 doses.
In March, a feud between the European Commission and the drugmaker led to public doubts about the safety of the vaccine. Yesterday (7 April), UK regulatory authorities declared that AstraZeneca remains safe to use – but that under-30s should avoid the vaccine as a precaution.
General experiences of blood clot risk remain at the likelihood of four in one million.
However, the UK faces a shortage of AstraZeneca vaccines since 29 March. The gap is expected to be filled with a shipment of five million doses of Moderna, with further batches of Pfizer and initial doses of Johnson & Johnson expected for mid-Summer.
The expected timeline of full UK vaccination is intact, according to Professor Van-Tam.
This shortage raised questions about the international supply chain, with manufacturers in India held unofficially responsible for a shortfall in expected deliveries. This comes after the EU’s expected delivery of 80 million doses was cut to 31 million, leaving political leaders across the bloc frustrated.
Did the UK send doses to Australia on purpose?
Now, new information shows that AstraZeneca doses produced in the UK have been sent to Australia. Australia have documented 909 COVID deaths so far, with over 29,000 cases of the virus. In contrast, the UK recently passed 127,000 deaths.
When asked about the new information by SkyNews, Health Secretary Matt Hancock commented: “In terms of what the companies do, these companies are manufacturing for all around the world and we source from everywhere in the world.
“So what I’m in control of, what matters for us as the UK government, is making sure that we get the supplies that we have got contracted from the companies.”
When asked if the UK Government chose to send doses to Australia, he denied the association.
“No, the British Government has a contract with seven companies now, but of course including AstraZeneca, for the delivery by AstraZeneca to the UK for us to deploy through the NHS, and that’s the bit I’m responsible for.”