European Union reportedly ready to tighten screws on COVID vaccine export regulations

European Union to use all tools to secure AstraZeneca vaccine

The EU's original vaccine export authorization mechanism, introduced in January, exempted about 90 countries, many of which were poorer nations. This means that export requests from companies such as Pfizer and Moderna may be on the hook for rejections, an official said, declining to be identified.

The commission will publish proposals that would target vaccine manufacturers that fail to meet their delivery schedule and countries that import vaccines manufactured in the European Union but refuse to export vaccines to Europe.

The European Commission proposals would widen the basis for curbs against jab-makers that miss delivery targets and countries that import from the EU but refuse to export their own vaccine production, officials said. "If that's to continue, it's really important for Europeans to get their fair share of vaccines".

Last week, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock called on Brussels to respect the law regarding COVID-19 vaccine supply contracts, warning that there would be consequences if the bloc acts "illegally".

Johnson will not want his country's highly successful vaccine rollout to stall but neither would it be helpful to London's reputation if, having vaccinated the old and vulnerable, the United Kingdom was deemed to be holding on to vaccines while Europe, where the rollout has been slower and less efficient, suffers a unsafe third wave.

The commission also wants to enforce principles of reciprocity and proportionality, meaning it could block exports to a country that is not reciprocating or has a high percentage of its population already vaccinated. "It has also become clear that Europe is alone in this partnership approach", said Manfred Weber, the head of the powerful European People's party group in the European Parliament.

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The European Commission is expected to announce further restrictions on COVID-19 vaccine exports amid continued global tensions over vaccine availability.

"Therefore, we should now take the next step, and strengthen our restrictions and limit exports to other vaccine producing countries that have refused to deliver vaccines to Europe".

In response to questions about the proposed measures a spokesperson for Boris Johnson, UK prime minister, said Britain expected the European Union "to stand by its commitment not to restrict exports by companies that are fulfilling their obligations".

"We are all facing the same pandemic, we all have the same problems, I think one thing is worth stressing, is that on the continent right now you can see sadly there is a third wave underway", Johnson said while speaking during a factory visit in Lancashire, according to CNN.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain did not believe in imposing vaccine blockades. "It's not something this country would dream of engaging in".

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