EU retains vax export control

EU’s approval of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid vaccines added another weapon in the armory being used to fight Covid-19

The extension was announced on Thursday following “persistent delays in some of the deliveries of vaccines to the EU”…reports Asian Lite News

The European Commission announced that the transparency and authorisation mechanism for the exports of Covid-19 vaccines out of the European Union (EU) has been extended until June end.

The extension was announced on Thursday following “persistent delays in some of the deliveries of vaccines to the EU”, Xinhua news agency reported citing the Commission as saying in a statement.

First put in place on January 30, the mechanism was originally due to expire on Friday.

It was launched when the EU argued that some pharmaceutical companies failed to honour their commitments to deliver the promised amount of doses to member countries but still could conduct exports from facilities based in the bloc.

Zulema Riquelme, a 46-year-old nursing technician, receives a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Metropolitan Hospital in Santiago, Chile

“We expect companies with which we have signed a contract to fulfil their obligations towards EU citizens. The EU exports very significant volumes of Covid-19 vaccines, true to our commitment to global solidarity. Yet, not all companies are honouring their agreements with the EU despite having received a down payment to enable sufficient production,” said EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides.

Backed by the Commission, Italy banned the export of 250,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine destined to Australia earlier this month.

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This was so far the only case in which the export request was refused.

Since the mechanism was put in place, 249 export requests towards 31 different countries and regions were approved.

In total, more than 34 million doses have been exported “as they did not threaten the contractual engagements between the EU and the vaccine producers”, the Commission statement said.

The Commission signed advance purchase agreements with six companies on behalf of its member states.

So far, four out of the six candidates have been granted conditional market authorisation in the bloc, and the contracted amount is about 1.6 billion doses.

The EU has rolled out vaccination programs aiming at inoculating 70 per cent of its adult population by September 21.

Meanwhile, 263 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide, 81 of them in clinical trials, according to the World Health Organization.

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