EU Commission can put brakes on vaccine exports

By Canadian Press	
	 		EU leaders grapple with surge of infections vaccine issues

Even if the move is detrimental to non-EU nations, the European Commission's goal is to force vaccine manufacturers, especially AstraZeneca, to deliver the doses they agreed to in their contracts.

In late January, the bloc made an embarrassing U-turn after it first threatened to restrict the export of vaccines to Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom using Article 16, an emergency provision in the recently concluded Brexit deal.

"I think it is clear for the company that, first of all the company has to catch up, has to honour the contract it has with the European member states, before it can engage again in exporting vaccines".

AstraZeneca has declined to comment on the timing, but said Halix is a relatively small part of its vaccine supply chain.

The Netherlands, Belgium, and Ireland warned against the risk of Britain retaliating by blocking exports of raw materials for vaccines to the EU.

French President Emmanuel Macron followed the footsteps of European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen and Germany's Angela Merkel while speaking at the sidelines of the European Council during late Thursday, early Friday for Asia.

An online summit held on Thursday discussed the vaccines, whose delivery has been delayed so far.

As tempers frayed this week, a joint statement by the British government and the commission on Wednesday said both sides are looking for ways to cooperate towards a "win-win" compromise, but no details were given.

New EU criteria may block vaccine exports to UK
The overall total of exported vaccines is bigger still since many more were not covered by the recent export regime. Health Canada said it has not received any reports of these blood clots to date.

Europe's troubled vaccine roll-out has led to a quarrel with Britain, which has imported 21 million doses made in the European Union, according to an European Union official.

"Accelerating the production, delivery and deployment of vaccines remains essential and urgent to overcome the crisis".

"Efforts to this end must be further intensified", said Michel. "Since the start of the mechanism on 1 February, more than 380 export requests and only one has been stopped", von der Leyen said.

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said the bloc had, "absolutely no desire to disturb the global supply chain" but added the European Union "had an interest" in ensuring companies like AstraZeneca respected their contractual obligations.

But von der Leyen said the next three months will see overall vaccine supplies more than triple and the European Union - population 450 million - is on track to see 70 percent of adults fully vaccinated by mid-September.

The mechanism has been criticised outside Europe as it has been compared to an export ban with the potential of triggering retaliation from other countries and, therefore, disrupting the global supply chain of vaccines.

"Some of our Member States have been severely affected by the disappointing reduction in deliveries of AstraZeneca vaccines", she added. He said that European citizens feel like they are being "deceived" by some drug makers, according to an EU official who relayed the exchange on condition of anonymity.

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