WHO criticises EU over vaccine export controls

WHO criticises EU over vaccine export controls
Relatively few vaccines have so far been administered in poorer countries. Source: EPA
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Daily US Times: The World Health Organization (WHO) has criticised the European Union’s announcement of export controls on coronavirus vaccine produced within the bloc, saying such measures risked prolonging the pandemic.

The EU introduced the new measure amid a row with vaccine manufacturers over delivery shortfalls.

But WHO vice-head Mariangela Simao described it as a “very worrying trend”.

WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said earlier that “vaccine nationalism” could lead to a “protracted recovery”.

Speaking at the Davos Agenda – a virtual version of the global summit – Mr Ghebreyesus said vaccine hoarding would “keep the pandemic burning and… slow global economic recovery” in addition to being a “catastrophic moral failure” that could further widen global inequality.

The European Union is introducing export controls on Covid-19 vaccines made in the bloc, amid a row about delivery shortfalls.

The so-called transparency mechanism gives countries in the EU bloc powers to deny authorisation for vaccine exports if the company making them hasn’t honoured existing contracts with the EU.

European Commission said: “The protection and safety of our citizens is a priority and the challenges we now face left us with no choice but to act.”

The controls will affect some 100 countries worldwide – including the US, the UK, Australia and Canada- but many others, including poorer nations, are exempt.

However the European Union has been forced to backtrack on plans to impose restrictions on the export of vaccines across the border on the island of Ireland after outcry from London and Dublin.

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