Science

European Union chief threatens United Kingdom with vaccine export curbs

European Union chief threatens United Kingdom with vaccine export curbs”

Several EU countries recently paused the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine amid growing health concerns.

The President of the European Commission says it will have to reflect on how to make exports to vaccine-producing countries dependent on their level of openness - saying it's still waiting for doses to come from the United Kingdom, while ten million doses have been exported to the United Kingdom from the EU.

The certificate will show "whether the person has either been vaccinated, or has a recent negative test, or has recovered from Covid, and thus has antibodies", EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said.

In response, Downing Street urged the European Union to "stand by its commitment" not to restrict exports of vaccines.The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "I would point you back to the conversation the Prime Minister had with Ursula von der Leyen earlier this year".

The EU had not previously said how many doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which is administered in two shots, it would receive in the April to June period under two confidential supply contracts with the drugmakers. She says it will reflect on whether exports to countries who have higher vaccination rates are still proportionate - adding this is about reciprocity, and making sure Europe gets its fair share.

She accused the embattled pharmaceutical company of delaying Europe's coronavirus vaccination campaign which has seen less than 5% of the population vaccinated.

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Beyond criticism for its slow deliveries, notably in Europe, AstraZeneca also has had to deal with reports of unsafe blood clots in some recipients of its shot, although the company and global regulators say there is no evidence the vaccine is to blame.

Two production sites in the United Kingdom figure in the EU's advance purchasing agreement drawn up with AstraZeneca, she said, adding: "We're still waiting for doses to come from the United Kingdom", she said.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen warned the bloc would halting shipments the United Kingdom while Britain had a higher coverage rate than its own. "We will need it for as long as the pandemic continues", he said. We've been saying it this year, on vaccines and other things.

"We are in the crisis of the century".

"We, like our European friends are keeping supply chains open, keeping trade and vital supplies of medical equipment and vaccines is critically important".



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