Brussels extends until the end of December the export control mechanism for COVID-19 vaccines produced in the EU in order to to guarantee the supply of 27 in the face of the “uncertainties” fueled by the appearance of variant strains of the new coronavirus, the European Commission announced yesterday, Thursday.
The Commission launched a vaccine export approval mechanism at the end of January to monitor trade with countries where health is better than in Europe and to monitor in particular the shipments of AstraZeneca, which is accused of failing to meet contractual obligations. in terms of its deliveries to 27 for the benefit of other countries.
This has not stopped the EU from exporting almost 740 million doses of vaccine.
Although immunization campaigns across the EU have accelerated over the months, “they are still ongoing” and “uncertainties remain, especially with the emergence of new strains of the virus,” the commission said in a statement.
«It is therefore necessary to maintain transparencyThe control mechanism, the operation of which was approved by the end of September, will be extended until 31 December. No extension is planned beyond this date.
In practice, this mechanism makes it mandatory, before any vaccine export outside the EU by any pharmaceutical company, to provide the green light of the Member State from which the doses are sent. The decision needs to be approved by the European Commission.
However, from the end of January to the 28th of September, the 27 approved more than 2,600 export applications for a total of 738 million installments, destined for 56 countries and regions (United Kingdom, Australia, USA, Chile, Canada, Israel, Japan, Turkey…) , according to the Commission.
During this period, only one export request – of AstraZeneca, destined for Australia – was rejected.
«Over the next three months, the Commission will work to establish a new surveillance mechanism, which will provide updated export information after the end of the current mechanism, on 1 January 2022.“, But it is not obligatory to secure the approval of each export from the new year, it is added in the announcement.
Several governments (US, Indian, South African…), as well as non-governmental organizations, are seeking the temporary removal of patents protecting vaccines in order to speed up their international production; however, Brussels rejects any preferring to increase European participation in the UN COVAX solidarity mechanism.
«The EU continues to fully embrace the principles of international solidarity and responsibility“, The European Commission noted yesterday, reminding that the control does not apply to the export of vaccines for COVID-19 to low- to middle-income countries.