EU Eyeing Tougher COVID-19 Vaccine Export Regulations Amid Continuing Supply Shortfalls

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EU Eyeing Tougher COVID-19 Vaccine Export Regulations Amid Continuing Supply Shortfalls

The European Commission announced on Wednesday a set of measures seeking to toughen the vaccine export controls by introducing new criteria, such as reciprocity and proportionality, amid continuing shortfalls of vaccine supplies from manufacturers

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 24th March, 2021) The European Commission announced on Wednesday a set of measures seeking to toughen the vaccine export controls by introducing new criteria, such as reciprocity and proportionality, amid continuing shortfalls of vaccine supplies from manufacturers.

"Today, the European Commission has introduced the principles of reciprocity and proportionality as new criteria to be considered for authorising exports under the transparency and authorisation mechanism for COVID-19 vaccine exports," the official statement reads.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, stated that the EU will continue its export obligations, but "open roads should run in both directions" and member states should first ensure that their citizens have sufficient access to the vaccine.

The new regulations introduce two major changes to the existing mechanism. Before, member states only had to estimate the planned export's impact on the fulfillment of existing EU purchase agreements.

However, now they will have to additionally consider whether destination countries place any restrictions on their own vaccine exports and whether vaccination rates and vaccine availability are better there than in the EU.

The tougher controls will also apply to 17 countries previously exempted from the regulations, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Israel among others.

As of now, the EU has exported over 10.9 million doses to the UK, 6.6 million to Canada, 5.4 million to Japan, 4.4 million to Mexico, and over 8 million doses to other countries. It has secured deals with six vaccine producers, including AstraZeneca, Sanofi-GSK, Janssen Pharmaceutica, Pfizer, CureVac, and Moderna, ensuring access to up to 2.6 billion doses for internal use.