EU tightens vaccine export rules, creates post-Brexit outcry

EU tightens vaccine export rules, creates post-Brexit outcry
The AstraZeneca office building in Brussels, Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. Source: AP
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Daily US Times: The European Union introduced tighter vaccine export rules on Friday that could hit shipments to nations like the UK, deepening a dispute with London over scarce supplies of potentially lifesaving shots.

But amid an outcry in the UK and Northern Ireland, the European Commission made it clear that the new measure will not trigger controls on vaccines shipments produced in the 27-nation bloc to the small territory that is part of UK bordering EU member Ireland.

Under the post-Brexit deal, European Union products should still be able to travel unhindered from the bloc to Northern Ireland.

EU’s executive arm said in a statement late Friday: “In the process of finalization of this measure, the Commission will ensure that the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol is unaffected.”

Amid a dispute with AstraZeneca, EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had an unexpected phone call, during which the UK PM “expressed his grave concerns about the potential impact which the steps the EU has taken today on vaccine exports could have,” a statement from the British government read.

The EU unveiled its plans to tighten rules on exports of Covid-19 vaccines produced inside the bloc amid fears some of the doses it secured from AstraZeneca could be diverted elsewhere.

The tighter vaccine export rules could be used to block shipments of the vaccine to many non-EU countries and ensure that any exporting company based in the EU will first have to submit their plans to national authorities.

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