EU to tighten vaccine exports amid row with AstraZeneca

EU to tighten vaccine exports amid row with AstraZeneca
Reports suggest AstraZeneca may have warned of a 60% cut to doses available. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: The European Union (EU) has warned it will tighten rules on exports of Covid-19 vaccines, amid a row with AstraZeneca over a cut in planned supplies to the 27-nation bloc.

Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said the EU “will take any action required to protect its citizens”.

AstraZeneca told last week that the EU it was falling behind on its supply target because of production problems.

The EU has been criticised for the slow rollout of Covid vaccinations, which it buys on behalf of all member states.

The row could also affect supplies to the United Kingdom of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine developed by Germany and the US. Pfizer’s Belgian plant supplies the UK.

The bRITISH government said it was in “close contact” with vaccine suppliers.

A UK government spokesperson said: “Our vaccine supply and scheduled deliveries will fully support offering the first dose to all four priority groups by 15 February.”

Inoculation programmes in some members of the EU have already been slowed due to a cut in deliveries of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, with some countries threatening legal action.

The EU Health Commissioner, Ms Kyriakides tweeted that Monday’s talks with vaccine producer AstraZeneca “resulted in dissatisfaction with the lack of clarity and insufficient explanations”.

She said: “EU member states are united: vaccine developers have societal and contractual responsibilities they need to uphold”.

Ms Kyriakides said the European Union had requested “a detailed planning of vaccine deliveries”, and the next meeting with AstraZeneca would be held on Wednesday.

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