Von der Leyen says European Union may restrict COVID-19 vaccine exports

Tanya Simon
March 18, 2021

"If the situation does not change, we will have to reflect on how to make exports to vaccine-producing countries dependent on their level of openness", she added, without naming any country.

The European Union is again threatening to halt exports of COVID-19 vaccines to other countries, at a time when Canada is set to see a huge influx of doses with record deliveries coming next week.

Ms von der Leyen had told reporters in Brussels that "we will reflect on whether exports to countries who have higher vaccination rates than us are still proportionate".

Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine doses for Europe and the United Kingdom are being produced in BioNTech's German manufacturing sites, as well as in Pfizer's manufacturing site in Belgium.

Britain's foreign secretary accused the European Commission of "brinkmanship" after it threatened to cut off vaccine exports to countries that do not share their own supplies.

"We want reliable deliveries of vaccines, we want increase in the contracts, we want to see reciprocity and proportionality in exports and we are ready to use whatever tool we need to deliver on that", Ms von der Leyen said.

"We've, all of us, including with our European friends, been saying throughout the pandemic that you'd be wrong to curtail or interfere with lawfully contracted supply", Mr Raab said. We have all been arguing for this and we expect those assurances and legally contracted supply to be respected.

"The supply of vaccines from European Union production facilities to the U.K.is indeed fulfilling contractual responsibilities, and we fully expect those contracts to be delivered on", Hancock said. We are in the crisis of the century and I'm not ruling out anything for now.

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Officers set up along the interstate and "made contact with the suspect", who was driving a 2007 black Hyundai Tucson, he said. Two people died at the scene and three were transported to a hospital, where two of them also died, Baker said.

The EU reached an initial deal with the vaccine producer in November 2020 for 300 million doses.

It has faced criticism of a slow rollout amid supply delays from some drugmakers, hiccups in vaccination plans and the suspension of inoculations using the AstraZeneca vaccine due to potential health issues.

This pales in comparison to the UK's rate standing at 39.04 and the US's on 33.11.

Downing Street pointed to an apparent commitment received from Ms von der Leyen in January as the European Union backtracked on its widely-condemned move to impose vaccine controls by overriding part of the Brexit agreement on Northern Ireland.

But the Prime Minister has backed the version developed by Oxford University and the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical giant by revealing he will be taking their one when he gets his own jab "very, very shortly".

"By not using the vaccine, this is going to directly lead to an increased incidence of Covid infection and people will die as a outcome of these decisions."Sweden and Latvia have followed Germany, France and Spain in temporarily suspending AstraZeneca jabs in light of a small number of reports of bleeding, blood clots and low blood platelet counts".

The EU's regulator, the European Medicines Agency, is conducting a full scientific review but has said it "remains convinced" the "benefits of this vaccine outweigh the risk".

Canada is also in talks with the USA about vaccines as President Joe Biden says his government will open access to other countries when the American population is inoculated.

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