European Union toughens rules for vaccine exports to avoid shortfalls

Tanya Simon
March 24, 2021

The vaccine was viewed skeptically by some nations as Russian Federation began distributing it to some European countries before it was evaluated by regulatory agencies - including the EMA and the World Health Organization. "That is why we are getting on with our vaccination program as fast as we can".

In recent days, Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain has sought to strike a conciliatory tone in a bid to avert an European Union export ban that would deliver a major blow to his country's fast-advancing vaccination campaign.

Later that evening, however, he risked inflaming tensions with the bloc through his use of language in a private address to a group of Conservative MPs in a meeting via Zoom.

The Sun reported that he later added: "Actually I regret saying it" and that he asked lawmakers repeatedly to "forget I said that". Two people on the call told Bloomberg he was not referring to the European Union vaccines row but was making a quip about the big pharmaceutical companies that produced the shots.

Canada's government described the EU's proposals as "concerning".

Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt on Wednesday said his nation had only received 700,000 of the 3.8 million doses it has contracted to receive from AstraZeneca's European operations.

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Officials also restricted eastbound traffic on the three main causeways connecting the city with downtown Miami . Florida has no statewide mask rules, limits on capacity or other such restrictions, courtesy of Republican Gov.

The EU has been specifically irked by Anglo-Swedish company AstraZeneca.

The insider asserted that the new mechanism would potentially allow the European Commission to block shipments of the AstraZeneca, BioNTech/Pfizer, and Moderna vaccines to the UK. "It's important we work collaboratively with our worldwide counterparts". German Chancellor Angela Merkel ordered a five-day lockdown over Easter following negotiations with state leaders that ran deep into the night while France and Italy have also tightened restrictions on activity in a bid to get the virus under control. The commission wants to make it easier to stop shipments leaving the EU if their manufacturers haven't fulfilled their European commitments.

"We will consider: Reciprocity: whether the destination country restricts its own exports of vaccines or their raw materials, either by law or other means and Proportionality: the epidemiological situation in the destination country, its vaccination rate and vaccine stocks", the statement published on Twitter read.

"It's not specific to a company and it's not specific to a country", said one official.

With no numerical targets, the change is unlikely to trigger mass export bans of EU-made vaccines, the official with insight into the announcement said on Wednesday.

"In practice, all this is, is a piece of paper that says please take this stuff into consideration when you're looking at approving export authorizations", the official said.

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