France could be the next in line, after Italy, to ban the export of Covid-19 vaccines from the country. Italy had blocked a shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines to Australia yesterday on EU anti-shortfall grounds, according to RT.
Now, it looks like France could follow suit. French Health Minister Olivier Veran said Monday: “I understand Italy. We could do the same.” He also said that France is supportive of Brussels' approach to vaccinating in the EU. "France will work with its European partners to make sure the pharma companies respect their contracts," he said.
This year, Brussels has mandated that vaccine manufacturers need to get authorization from member states before exporting products made domestically. Under this rule, Italy blocked a shipment of over 250,000 doses of AZ's Covid vaccine that were to be shipping to Australia.
Italy claimed that Australia is a "non-vulnerable" country to Covid, when asking the EU to prevent the shipment. The restrictions were also put in place because of a projected failure to meet demand for EU nations.
“In Italy people are dying at the rate of 300 a day. And so I can certainly understand the high level of anxiety that would exist in Italy and in many countries across Europe,” said Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Australia has had just 29,000 Covid cases and 909 Covid related deaths amongst its population of 25 million. The continent has closed its borders and essentially locked itself down since the pandemic began. It also implements strict contact tracing.
Morrison says that despite the export ban, the country has a "reliable supply" of the vaccine.