“The Prime Minister was absolutely right. Those 3.1 million doses didn’t arrive,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told Today.
“We have a request for a million doses of AstraZeneca that were destined for Australia to go to Papua New Guinea in a humanitarian mission where there has been an outbreak,” he said.
“We are waiting on the Europeans to give us the approval for that.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison yesterday said 3.1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine had been blocked from importation amid criticism over the government rollout plan.
The EU has since denied responsibility, with the chief spokesman for the European Commission telling a press conference there had been no “new decision to block vaccine exports to Australia”.
So far 840,000 doses have been administered so far, with Mr Morrison blaming “a supply problem” for Australia’s inability to hit its vaccine targets set earlier this year.
The Federal Government forecast four million doses would be administered by the end of March when it first announced the program at the beginning of the year.
“There were over three million doses from overseas that never came,” Mr Morrison said.
Earlier this month, Italy and the European Union blocked a shipment of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine containing 250,000 doses, destined for Australia.
The block followed the EU tightening its rules on vaccine exports in an effort to secure its own supply.
Manufacturing of the vaccine at Melbourne-based CSL is also now ramping up in an effort to help guarantee the supply of the vaccine to deal with delays in the rollout plan.