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Cops find 29M AstraZeneca COVID vaccine doses in Italian factory raid

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Mamma mia!

Italian police found millions of unreported doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine during a factory raid — sparking fears that the shots were hidden amid a distribution spat between the European Union and the UK, according to reports Wednesday.

Up to 29 million doses of the vaccine — nearly double the amount the European Union has received from the drug company so far — was discovered at a pharmaceutical plant in Anagni over the weekend, the Italian newspaper La Stampa reported.

The jabs were initially bound for the UK then later blocked by Italy after new rules on vaccine exports were introduced last month, EU sources told the paper.

But Italy was unaware of the vaccines until EU internal market commissioner Thierry Breton launched an investigation into the their destination — then tipped off Italian cops about the plant, according to the paper.

A health worker holds up a vial of the AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19.
A health worker holds a vial of the AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19.
Fabio Ferrari/LaPresse via AP

“On Saturday, the European Commission asked the prime minister to verify some batches of vaccine at a production plant at Anagni. The prime minister informed the health minister, who ordered an inspection between Saturday and Sunday, carried out by the [Italian authorities],” an official told The Independent. “The batches that were inspected were destined for Belgium.”

Belgium, which is part of the European Union, is locked in heated negotiations with the UK over a vaccine distribution plan, authorities said.

The jabs may have been manufactured at the Halix plant in the Netherlands, which is still awaiting approval by the European Medicines Agency, Italian media reports said.

Italy’s ministry of health said it was investigating the factory incident.

AstraZeneca said that most of the 29 million doses at the plant were intended for EU countries, and the rest were for poor countries under the World Health Organization’s COVAX plan.

“There are no exports currently planned other than to COVAX countries. There are 13 million doses of vaccine waiting for quality control release to be dispatched to COVAX,” the company told The Independent.

The rest of the 16 million doses will be shipped to Europe this month and in April, after quality control approval, the firm said.

The raid comes after AstraZeneca has come under fire from the European Commission over missed delivery targets in recent weeks.

A view of Catalent’s Anagni facility where unreported COVID-19 vaccine doses were discovered.
A view of Catalent’s Anagni facility where 29 million unreported COVID-19 vaccine doses were discovered.
Franco Origlia/Getty Images

The vaccine has been authorized in more than 50 countries, but has not yet been given the green light in the US.



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Suspect arrested in fatal Brooklyn stabbing

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Police have apprehended a suspect in the fatal December stabbing of a Brooklyn man, cops said on Saturday.

The suspect, John Headley, 32, also of Brooklyn, was taken into custody Friday and charged with murder and weapons possession for the Dec. 12 knifing of Ken Baird, 37, police said.

Baird was stabbed multiple times in the chest following a dispute on Crown Street near Utica Avenue in Crown Heights at about 6:40 p.m., police said.

EMS transported Baird to King County Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, cops said.

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Man dies after jumping from Staten Island Ferry

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A 53-year-old man died Saturday after jumping from the Staten Island Ferry into the chilly waters of New York Harbor, police said.

NYPD Harbor launch officers pulled the man out of the water after responding to reports of a jumper near the Whitehall Ferry Terminal in Manhattan at around 2 p.m.

“He jumped off the ferry as it pulled away from the dock,” an NYPD spokesman told The Post. He jumped off the Ferryboat Andrew J. Barberi, police said.

The unidentified victim was removed to Pier 11 and transported to New York-Presbyterian Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after 3:10 p.m.

A newsstand worker said there were “about 50 or so emergency people” at Pier 11 following a valiant effort — which included CPR — to save the man’s life.

Ferry1

An NYPD spokesman says the 53-year-old man “jumped off the ferry as it pulled away from the dock.”

Michael Dalton

Ferry3

The 53-year-old man was transported to New York-Presbyterian Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Michael Dalton

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Kemp Lashes M.L.B. as Republicans Defend Georgia’s Voting Law

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Mr. Kemp, who is gearing up to run for re-election in 2022, has striven to re-enter the good graces of Republican voters after becoming a central political target of former President Donald J. Trump because of his refusal to help Mr. Trump overturn the state’s election results last year. A former secretary of state of Georgia who has his own record of decisions that made voting harder for the state’s residents, he is again a key G.O.P. voice leading the charge on the issue.

On Saturday, he repeatedly tried to paint the league’s decision as driven by Stacey Abrams, the voting rights advocate and former Democratic candidate for governor in Georgia who is seen as likely to challenge Mr. Kemp again next year.

Ms. Abrams, one of the most prominent critics of Georgia’s voting law, has pushed back on calls for sports leagues and corporations to boycott the state. She said on Friday that she was “disappointed” baseball officials had pulled the All-Star Game but that she was “proud of their stance on voting rights.”

In defending the law in Georgia, Mr. Kemp singled out two Democratically controlled states, New York and Delaware, and compared their voting regulations with the new law in Georgia. Those states do not offer as many options for early voting as Georgia does, but they have also not passed new laws instituting restrictions on voting.

“In New York, they have 10 days of early voting,” Mr. Kemp said (New York actually has nine). “In Georgia, we have a minimum of 17, with two additional Sundays that are optional in our state. In New York, you have to have an excuse to vote absentee. In Georgia, you can vote absentee for any reason.”



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