MORE than 700,000 Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccines were ‘secretly flown’ to Australia from the UK despite EU block, according to reports.
Reports say the shipment of hundreds of thousands of doses was ‘kept quiet to avoid any controversy in coronavirus-ravaged Britain’ after new EU restrictions meant ‘not a single dose’ has been sending Down Under.
The EU imposed limits on exports of jabs produced on the continent as it grapples with its own shortage and a slow rollout.
The first 300,000 UK-made doses touched down at Sydney Airport on February 28 and a second batch arrived in March.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock did not deny that AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccines manufactured in the UK have been sent to Australia.
He was asked about a report in the Sydney Morning Herald that 717,000 doses delivered in Australia were manufactured in the UK.
Mr Hancock told Sky News: “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.”
But he said the Government did not send the doses.
He said: “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.”
It comes as regulators yesterday recommended under-30s are offered an alternative jab to Oxford/AstraZeneca after an investigation into the jab’s link to rare blood clots.