EU may block Pfizer vaccine exports to UK to ensure stable supplies within bloc

EU may block Pfizer vaccine exports to UK to ensure stable supplies within bloc

MOSCOW: The European Union may block the exports of the vaccine against the coronavirus developed by Pfizer to the United Kingdom to retain stable vaccine supplies for its member states, reported Sputnik news agency.

The European Union is studying an opportunity to resort to “urgent measures to ensure effective vaccine production and supply for our (EU) population,” the Independent media outlet reported on late Thursday, citing a leaked letter by European Council President Charles Michel.

The “vaccine war” has been sparked by the decision of the company AstraZeneca to guarantee supplies to the United Kingdom while delaying deliveries to the European Union over production problems.

London has already ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, whose delivery is currently under a threat.

“This would give the EU and member states the legal means, by adopting appropriate urgent measures, to ensure effective vaccine production and supply for our population,” Michel said in the letter commenting on the possible exports ban.

The EU official reportedly added that he had made this suggestion to President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.

Another media outlet, Politico, reported on Thursday that the European Union had decided to introduce on Friday a mechanism that would allow the member states to block vaccine exports worldwide.

The plan reportedly envisages that the EU will grant special authorisations to make the vaccine exports possible. The bloc will grant such permits only after making sure that the producers had delivered the number of doses to the member states anchored in the advanced purchasing agreements.

Two officials told Politico that poor countries and the international mechanism of COVAX would be exempted from the authorisation requirement.

–BERNAMA