Italian police find ‘millions’ of vaccines in factory raid amid fears AstraZeneca jabs being hidden

Italian police have raided a pharmaceuticals plant outside Rome, looking for AstraZeneca vaccines, as a tussle between the EU and UK over shortfalls in deliveries continues.

Carabinieri toldThe Independent that specialist food and pharmaceutical officers were involved in the search at the Catalent fill-and-finish plant in Anagni.

The raids took place over the weekend, said an Italian government official.

“On Saturday, the European Commission asked the prime minister to verify some batches of vaccine at a production plant at Anangni. The prime minister informed the health minister who ordered an inspection between Saturday and Sunday, carried out by the Carabinieri.

“The batches that were inspected were destined for Belgium,” said the official.

Italian newspaper La Stampa reported that as many as 29 million doses of the vaccine were found at the plant, those this number could not be verified.

That would represent almost double the 16 million doses so far delivered to the European Union by the drug company and which are now the subject of heated negotiations between Brussels and the UK.

AstraZeneca been under fire from the European Commission for missed delivery targets for weeks.

The doses were likely to have been manufactured at the Halix plant in Leiden, in the Netherlands, Italian media reports said. Halix is still awaiting approval by the European Medicines Authority but approval could come as soon as this week.

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