Fury as Germany and Italy sit on MILLIONS of unused Covid jabs while EU blocks AstraZeneca vaccine exports

GERMANY and Italy are hoarding millions of Coronavirus vaccines, it has emerged.

Both countries have used less than 33% of their Covid jabs just as the EU blocks the export of AstraZeneca vaccines to Australia.

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Figures from the Robert Koch Institute show that eleven out of 16 federal German states did not use half of their supply.

In Saxony only 15.1% of the vaccines stored were used, according to Bild, meaning out of the 105,600 vaccines delivered there, 90,000 remain unused.

In other states across Germany, the percentage of the population vaccinated remains relatively low with 18.7% vaccinated in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and 24.7% in Hesse.

In Brandenburg, only 64.9% of the vaccine was used leaving 112,000 doses in stock.

On Saturday it emerged that Italy had the largest EU AstraZeneca stock but the lowest vaccination rate in the EU.

It also has the third-largest stock of vaccines, which include Moderna and Pfizer.

According to the European Centre for Disease, Italy has more than 1.5million AstraZeneca vaccines and has only used 322,801 of its jabs as of Friday.

While Germany has only dished out 466,596 of its 1.4million vaccines.

Since only 3.5million Italians out of a population of 60million have received at least one dose, the new government is keen on speeding up the administration of the vaccine by drafting nurses and doctors from the armed forces.

Meanwhile, Germany's leader Angela Merkel was forced to extend the lockdown by three weeks on March 4 after the seven-day average rose from 64 to 64.7.

Last Wednesday new infections increased by 11,912 to 2,471,942 and the death toll rose by 359 to 71,240.

It comes as Germany is finally set to approve AstraZeneca’s Covid jab for over-65s.

The embarrassing backflip comes after Berlin snubbed the life-saving vaccine – despite real-world results showing it is 94 per cent effective at reducing hospital admissions for coronavirus.

"The (German) vaccine commission, whose recommendations we are happy to follow, will authorise AstraZeneca for older age groups," Merkel, 66, told reporters on Wednesday.

With the approval, the EU is now pleading with Joe Biden to send millions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine as it desperately tries to catch up with the UK.

The European Commission will also ask the US to ensure the free flow of shipments of the ingredients needed for its own production of the jab.

The news comes after Brussels was blasted for risking a global vaccines war by blocking the shipment of 250,000 AstraZeneca doses to Australia.

The European Commission said: “We trust that we can work together with the US to ensure that vaccines produced or bottled in the US for the fulfilment of vaccine producers’ contractual obligations with the EU will be fully honoured.”

The EU’s attempt to source more jab supplies follows months of problems with its "shambolic" roll out programme.

The Sun told how a poll revealed Europeans are losing faith in the EU over its "vaccine bungles" and believe Britain is doing much better.

Only one in six Germans and a quarter of French people think Brussels has done a good job of handling the jabs rollout.

In contrast the UK is ranked by others as the second best performing country in the world at getting shots into arms.

The European bid to get US supplies of the jab comes as the company struggles to meet EU delivery targets in the wake of production issues. 

The pharma giant has also said it intends to source half of its planned supply to the EU from elsewhere in the world.

President Biden and Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission president, discussed increasing cooperation during a call on Friday. 

Afterwards the Commission said that the EU and the US had a “strong interest” in working together.  

AstraZeneca says that it remains on track to hit its target to deliver 40m doses to the EU by the end of the first quarter.

However, that figure is down from an original plan to ship at least 100m shots by the end of March. 

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