No European Union country has a bigger stock of AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccines or has used a smaller percentage of its stock than Italy. Rome, with European Commission permission, stopped a shipment of 250,000 of the Oxford University jabs leaving the EU for Australia. The ban was a rebuke to the British-Swedish pharmaceutical firm, which Brussels accuses of breaking its contractual obligations, which AZ denies. In January it cut supplies to the EU in the first quarter to 40 million doses from the 90 million in the deal, and said it would cut deliveries by another 50 per cent in the second quarter. The EU has lagged far behind the UK, US and Israel in rollout, which it blames on supply shortfalls. Italian prime minister Mario Draghi aims to use AZ to speed up vaccinations as his country gears to face a third wave. He is expected to lift age restrictions and follow Britain's lead in having a longer gap between first and second jabs to increase the number having at least one shot. But a new YouGov survey of 1,029 Italians found that almost a quarter (23 per cent) would refuse the AZ jab and demand an alternative.