EU, UK in talks about deliveries underneath new export laws

Nursing staff is waiting for the vaccine against COVID 19 from AstraZeneca at the sports center of the University of CUS Turin on March 14, 2021 in Turin, Italy.

Stefano Guidi | Getty Images News | Getty Images

LONDON – Britain and the European Union try to settle a dispute over Covid-19 vaccine supplies shortly after EU officials announced stricter rules on the export of block-made shots.

The UK and the EU have been at odds for the past few weeks, with the latter complaining that London has not had the same level of reciprocity when it comes to distributing vaccines. The EU has said that since the end of January, more than 10 million cans produced in the EU have gone to the UK, but the UK has not exported any in return.

“We are all facing the same pandemic, and the third wave makes EU-UK cooperation even more important. We discussed what more we can do to promote a mutually beneficial relationship between the UK and the EU on Covid -19 to ensure. ” The UK government and the European Commission announced this in a joint statement on Wednesday.

“Given our interdependencies, we are working on specific steps that we can take in the short, medium and long term to create a win-win situation and expand the vaccine supply for all of our citizens,” said the UK and EU, adding in addition, these discussions would continue.

At the center of the recent dispute is the fact that the EU has received significantly fewer vaccines from AstraZeneca than expected, which puts further adoption at risk.

The Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company was expected to distribute around 90 million doses in the first quarter, but that number has since been reduced to 30 million doses.

Our export authorization mechanism is not regulated in any particular country.

Valdis Dombrovskis

EU head of trade

AstraZeneca, which developed its Covid vaccine in partnership with Oxford University, said yield problems at EU facilities have hampered production. So far, only 17 million doses have been distributed to EU countries, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

EU leaders will hold a virtual summit on Thursday to discuss ways to improve supplies of Covid vaccines and improve the introduction of doses.

Export rules

EU countries suffered another setback after AstraZeneca cut its delivery target for the second quarter from 180 million to 70 million cans.

“I remind you that AstraZeneca has only fulfilled a small part of its agreed contractual obligations,” said Valdis Dombrovskis, EU chief of trade, at a press conference on Wednesday.

As a result, the European Commission decided to tighten the rules for the export of block-made vaccines. The EU executive said on Wednesday that in addition to checking that companies are performing their contracts, it also takes into account whether the country that receives vaccines made in the EU has a higher vaccination rate and better epidemiological situation overall, and whether the recipient nation has restrictions on shipping vaccines or raw materials to other locations.

For this reason, the UK could expect a lower number of imported Covid recordings in the future. It has a higher vaccination rate than the EU and, according to the EU Commission, does not share its vaccines with other nations.

“Our export licensing mechanism is not regulated in any particular country, but it is clear that we in the EU must also ensure that our own people are vaccinated,” said Dombrovskis.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Wednesday that blocking vaccines made “no sense”.

Over the weekend, Italian authorities discovered 29 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines at a processing facility near Rome. AstraZeneca said in a statement that these shots were waiting for quality control and that 13 million should be shipped to low and middle income countries and the remaining 16 million doses to EU countries, with 10 million expected in the last week of March be sent.

“It is wrong to call this inventory. The process of making vaccines is very complex and time-consuming. In particular, vaccine doses have to wait for quality control clearance after the vials are filled,” AstraZeneca said in a statement.

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