01 March 2021,   05:20
Brussels moves to tighten rules on COVID vaccine exports

Brussels has moved to tighten rules on exports of coronavirus vaccines outside the EU as the fallout escalates from AstraZeneca’s shock cut to planned deliveries to the bloc over the next weeks.

Stella Kyriakides, EU health commissioner, on Monday proposed forcing companies to give notice beforehand of any plans to send shipments elsewhere in the world, as the bloc scrambles to boost its supplies of jabs.

Officials say the tougher approach is expected to be modelled on a temporary scheme last year that required companies to seek authorisation for exporting Covid-19 personal protective equipment outside the EU.

The commission held inconclusive crisis talks with AstraZeneca on Monday night over the production shortfall, which threatens to leave EU countries further behind the US and UK in Covid-19 vaccine rollout.

“We want clarity on transactions and full transparency concerning the export of vaccines from the EU”, - said Kyriakides. - “In the future, all companies producing vaccines against Covid-19 in the EU will have to provide early notification whenever they want to export vaccines to third countries”.