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COVID-19 Vaccine: EU Threatens To Block Exports Over Astrazeneca Delivery Delays

COVID-19 Vaccine: EU Threatens To Block Exports Over Astrazeneca Delivery Delays

Brussels threatened on Monday to block exports of COVID-19 vaccines outside of the bloc over the AstraZeneca's announcement that deliveries will be reduced for a few weeks.

 

The pharmaceutical giant told the European Commission on Friday there would be delivery delays in the first quarter of this year — a week after Pfizer made a similar announcement.

 

The EU Steering Board — made up of health officials from the Commission and member states — held a virtual meeting with AstraZeneca on Monday afternoon to discuss the issue but "the answers of the company have not been satisfactory so far," Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said in a statement.

 

A second meeting was held on Monday evening. "The European Union will take any action required to protect its citizens," Kyriakides said in the statement. She said the company's announcement that it intends to supply "considerable fewer doses" than agreed "is not acceptable", stressing that the bloc had "pre-financed the development of the vaccine and the production and wants to see the return."

 

"We want clarity on transactions and full transparency concerning the export of vaccines from the EU. 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," she added. Humanitarian deliveries would not be affected. The EU has secured about 2.3 billion doses of vaccines through Advance purchase Agreements struck with six pharmaceutical companies, including 300 million doses from AstraZeneca.

 

The EMA has not yet approved the jab which has already been rolled out in the UK, India, Mexico and Brazil. The European regulator is expected to give its approval on January 29. The EU's vaccination campaign, which started in late December has so far relied on the jabs developed by Pfizer/BioNtech and Moderna.

 

Source: Euronews

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