(AFP) — Australia’s prime minister on Wednesday blamed restricted vaccine supply from Europe for his country’s halting coronavirus inoculation efforts, as he faced growing public frustration over the sluggish rollout.
Scott Morrison said vaccine shortages and “strict export controls” introduced by the European Commission meant Australia received just 700,000 of a contracted 3.8 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
His government, which received global praise for successfully containing Australia’s coronavirus outbreak, has fallen far behind its vaccine rollout schedule.
It had initially pledged to administer four million doses by the end of March, but had instead managed about 920,000 shots by Wednesday — drawing increasing criticism that Morrison tried to address at a hastily organised press conference.
“3.1 million vaccines didn’t arrive in Australia — that’s just a simple fact,” he said.
“It’s not a dispute. It’s not a conflict. It’s not an argument. It’s not a