EU Threatens Export Controls On Covid Vaccines Amid Supply Row

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EU Threatens Export Controls On Covid Vaccines Amid Supply Row.

The European Union has warned it will impose tight controls on the export of covid vaccines made in the bloc, potentially impacting the UK’s supply of Pfizer jabs.

The UK Government said it was in “close contact” with suppliers after the European Commission issued the warning amid a row with AstraZeneca over a shortfall of doses for member states which is causing long delays in the administration of the jabs.

Facing criticism of a slow rollout in the EU, the European Commission threatened to impose controls on vaccines that would affect the Belgium-manufactured Pfizer vaccine. European health commissioner Stella Kyriakides accused pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, which worked with Oxford University on the vaccine’s development, of failing to give a valid explanation for failing to deliver doses to the bloc.

Ms Kyriakides said the EU had requested “a detailed planning of vaccine deliveries”, and the next meeting with AstraZeneca would be held on Wednesday. The health commissioner warned that “in the future, all companies producing vaccines against Covid-19 in the EU will have to provide early notification whenever they want to export vaccines to third countries”.

AstraZeneca has so far made no public comments on the latest developments, although the company had said a production problem meant the number of initial doses available to EU member states would be lower than expected. AstraZeneca had been set to deliver about 80 million doses to the 27 nations by March, according to an unnamed official who spoke to Reuters news agency.

Officials have not confirmed publicly how big the shortfall will be, but deliveries are expected to be reduced to 31m – a cut of 60% – in the first quarter of this year.

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Tony Winterburn

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