As reported by The Sydney Morning Herald, thousands of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were flown from Australia to the UK, but the source of the shipment was kept quiet to avoid any controversy in the UK.
As countries race to vaccinate their populations against coronoviruses, the export of vaccinations has come under controversy where large numbers of people await a shot. The European Union, because of delays in vaccine supply, introduced export controls on EU-produced shots in January.
The Sydney Morning Herald said that more than 700,000 vaccines flown into Australia were manufactured in the UK and not Europe, as it was widely believed. It was said that the shipment arrived after the European Union placed a mark on vaccine exports.
British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said his government had not sent any vaccines to Australia and that whatever was exported was a matter for the companies concerned.
“In terms of what companies do, these companies are building around the world,” Hancock told Sky News.
“What matters to us is because the UK government is ensuring that we get the supplies we have contracted with companies.”
A spokesman for Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison declined to comment.
The newspaper quoted an unnamed British official as saying that shipments to Australia were never at the expense of the UK vaccine rollout – the fastest in the world.
In March, the European Commission halted the shipment of 250,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Australia, and Morrison blamed the European Union for delaying his country’s vaccination program.
The UK has given the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to 31.7 million people. In recent weeks there has been a decline in the number of infections, hospitals and deaths.
According to our world data, Israel is the world leader in vaccinating its population against COVID-19 after the United Arab Emirates, Chile, Britain, United States, Bahrain, Serbia and Hungary.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)