EU ‘not ready’ to share Covid vaccines with poor countries

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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced on Sunday that the bloc will not share coronavirus vaccines with other countries until it has “a better production situation in the European Union.”

“There is a great deal of pressure on member states to get the vaccine for themselves,” she told the German group Funke Media Group over the weekend.

The announcement, which comes as the European Union faces a third wave of the Coronavirus and renewed restrictions on public life, signals a clear reflection of the bloc’s previous promises.

Von der Leyen launched a vigorous campaign to provide vaccines to people all over the world in the spring of 2020. But most Covid vaccine doses are still administered in rich countries.

However, von der Leyen stressed that the European Union will direct its support behind the WHO’s COVAX initiative, which is an attempt to give developing countries access to vaccines.

The European Union has invested 2.2 billion euros (2.6 billion dollars) in this initiative. It said COVAX had already delivered 30 million doses of the vaccine to 52 countries.

American AstraZeneca slams

Von der Leyen said on Saturday that European Union manufacturers have shipped 41 million vaccine doses to 33 countries since early February, making the block one of the largest export regions of coronavirus vaccines in the world.

She said: “I cannot explain to European citizens why we export millions of doses of vaccines to countries that produce vaccines themselves and do not send anything to us.”

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The European Union has put in place special mechanisms to limit vaccine exports. Manufacturers who have been contracted to supply Member States should declare whether they intend to export dosages outside of the block.

However, most of the EU’s concerns focus on the UK, where the vaccination campaign has progressed at a much faster pace.

The European Union president has threatened to suspend the export of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccines if the Union does not receive the promised deliveries first.

We have the option of a planned export ban. This is the message to AstraZeneca: You fulfill your contract with Europe first before it begins delivery to other countries, ”von der Leyen said, adding that the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company provided only 30% of the 90 million vaccine doses it had promised. The year.

The UK warns against the European Union’s ban on the export of vaccines

In response to the threats, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said Sunday that “the world is watching” how the European Union responds to AstraZeneca’s shortage of deliveries.

He said: “Stopping the export of vaccines is counterproductive because the only thing we know about vaccine production and manufacture is that it is cooperative.”

“(The European Union) will not only undermine the chances of their citizens getting a suitable vaccine program, but also many other countries around the world that are damaging the reputation of the European Union and that they will find it very difficult to change it in the short term,” he added.

The European Union accused the United Kingdom of imposing a de facto ban on exports. The UK has vehemently denied this claim, however, there is no evidence to suggest that the UK issued any COVID vaccines whatsoever, as it relies on complex legal arrangements with the manufacturers.

Meanwhile, the European Union has exported at least 8 million doses to the UK.

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