A Pfizer production plant in Belgium.
JOHN THYS / AFP
The European Commission announced on Thursday in a press release that it was extending its anti-Covid vaccine export control mechanism until the end of June, while the 27 EU member states are still suffering from delays in deliveries from the AstraZeneca laboratory .
Since the end of January, Brussels has been imposing safeguards on exports of anti-Covid vaccines produced in the EU in order to keep control of the doses intended for the Twenty-Seven.
This mechanism, which also applies to the various components of vaccines, was recently used by Italy to block the export to Australia of doses of AstraZeneca's anti-Covid vaccine produced on European soil.
A control mechanism overseen by the Commission
AstraZeneca is suspected of having favored its deliveries to the United Kingdom to the detriment of the European Union.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen warned on Monday that other exports could be blocked in the future.
"We expect companies with which we have signed a contract to fulfill their obligations towards EU citizens," European Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said in the statement on Thursday.
The control mechanism provides that each Member State examines export authorization applications for vaccines manufactured on its territory, before seeking the opinion of the Commission, with which it must comply.
This tool has been criticized internationally, in particular by the World Health Organization (WHO) according to which European controls could “undermine global efforts to ensure equitable access” to vaccines.
An agreement not always respected
“The EU exports very large volumes of anti-Covid-19 vaccines, in line with our commitment to global solidarity.
Yet not all companies honor their agreements with the EU, although they have received a deposit to allow sufficient production.
We will insist that they comply and we will continue to work with them to increase production in Europe as quickly as possible, ”she added.
European Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis defended the control of vaccine exports on Thursday.
“The disruption to trade feared by some has not happened.
Since the introduction of the control tool, deliveries have been authorized to more than 30 countries.
Despite the severe health crisis, the EU has made considerable efforts to remain a reliable and responsible trading partner, ”he said.
34 million doses exported in one week
According to an internal document consulted by AFP on Wednesday, 249 requests for exports of anti-Covid vaccines have been approved by Brussels since the end of January.
Under these authorizations, the EU exported 34.1 million doses between February 1 and March 9, including 9.1 million to the UK - more than a third of the total doses administered to date. 'now to the British.
Europeans also delivered around 3.9 million doses to Canada, 3.1 million to Mexico, 2.7 million to Japan and 954,000 doses to the United States.
However, real EU exports exceed these 34 million vaccines, since neighboring states of the 27 and many developing countries are not affected by the control mechanism.
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