But the European Commission signalled in February that the export controls would only be used "in very limited cases".
In January, AstraZeneca cut its supplies to the European Union in the first quarter to 40 million doses from 90 million foreseen in the contract, and later told European Union states it would cut deliveries by another 50% in the second quarter.
Accurate: Publicly available data show that the USA administered more COVID-19 vaccine doses than any other country as of early March 2021.
The commission had insisted for weeks that the mechanism was primarily about transparency.
The Australian government today expressed frustration at Italy's decision to block a shipment of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine, but stressed it would not affect the rollout of Australia's inoculation programme.
Health Officials will continue to monitor that the approved vaccines are safe, effective, and provide good protection through a single dose.
The Italian government refused and the European Commission supported its decision, the sources said.
Auckland back to lockdown after one Covid case detected
Health authorities were trying to find out whether the new case was linked to the earlier February cluster, now at 12 infections. Under Alert Level 3 , people in Auckland will not be permitted to leave their home unless for essential reasons.
When the number of administered COVID-19 vaccine doses is reported as a proportion of the population of each country, Israel is now ahead of all other countries, as 55.6% of the population has already received at least one dose of the vaccine (Figure 2). They are in an unbridled crisis situation.
Mr Frei told Channel 4 News: "As we found out they are extremely reluctant to allow the cameras into AstraZeneca vaccine centres".
Australia has received 300,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses so far, and the first of them were administered on Friday to frontline staff.
AstraZeneca had made deliveries to Italy last week that were about 10-15% lighter than expected. The company has said it can supply only about 40 million doses by the end of this month compared to 90 million foreseen in its contract.
At a virtual summit of the bloc's leaders, Italian prime minister Mario Draghi last week questioned why the bloc had not deployed its draconian powers.
French health minister Olivier Veran said he "understood" the Italian's government decision and indicated France "could do the same".
He tweeted: "Pandora's box opened".
This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of its Janssen subsidiary's COVID-19 vaccine in the United States.
The commission recommended that the first and second AstraZeneca jabs should be administered 12 weeks apart where possible, while people who had already been infected should receive one jab at least six months after diagnosis.