European Union moves toward stricter export controls for COVID-19 vaccines

EU set to extend Covid-19 vaccine ban as showdown with Britain looms

The move, which European Union officials said could hit AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, is created to avoid even limited delivery shortfalls to a region whose inoculation program has been beset by delays and supply issues.

USA federal health officials said early Tuesday that results may have included "outdated information" and that could mean the company provided an incomplete view of efficacy data. The bloc's executive arm could potentially block all exports to countries that do not reciprocate, with the U.K a prime target.

The commission is expected to propose that vaccine producers be penalised if they backload deliveries, ie if they send doses at the end of the quarter rather than the beginning of the quarter.

The question is which contract will they go to fulfil after steep shortfalls in AstraZeneca deliveries to the European Union slowed the bloc's rollout, and with Britain also facing a squeeze in its supply that London has blamed on manufacturing delays in India.

French President Emmanuel Macron and Germany's Angela Merkel have both since said they back Von der Leyen's proposal.

"We in this country don't believe in blockades of any kind of vaccines or vaccine materials", he said.

"It's not something this country would dream of engaging in and I'm encouraged by some of the things I've heard from the continent in the same sense".

He later asked MPs to "forget" he made the comments, which were first reported in The Sun newspaper. Currently, only the plant in Belgium, run by Thermo Fisher Scientific, is producing shots for the EU.

10 Downing Street has suggested phone calls between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and foreign leaders may not be routinely announced, according to The Guardian report.

"We're still waiting for doses to come from the United Kingdom,", she declared. 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.

This "qualitative" consideration will apply for requests not just from manufacturers that fall short of obligations, such as AstraZeneca, and are meant to prevent future glitches.

EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said the situation in many EU countries was "alarming", with increasing cases in 19 EU members and rising fatalities in eight.

We are introducing reciprocity and proportionality as additional criteria to be examined before authorising exports under the EU's authorisation mechanism for Covid-19 vaccine exports.

Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic told reporters in Brussels Tuesday that the emphasis is on "fairness" when it comes to distributing the critical shots.

"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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