In the discussion about a possible export ban for the AstraZeneca vaccine, EU Commissioner Sandra Gallina threatened the group with decisive action. “We intend to take action,” she told MEPs. The EU will use “all means at our disposal” to get the AstraZeneca cans. But Gallina did not explain what means these could be. Only one of five AstraZeneca production sites listed in the contracts currently supplies vaccines to the EU. “It’s a shame, it’s reputation damage,” said the inspector.
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen brought an export ban for AstraZeneca vaccines into the discussion. The company has drastically cut its deliveries to the EU unilaterally: Instead of the originally targeted 120 million vaccine doses, only 30 million are to come in the first quarter, and 70 million instead of 180 million doses in the second quarter.
The EU Commission announced a revision of the export controls for corona vaccines introduced in February for Wednesday. Gallina made it clear that other companies that fulfill their contracts would not have to expect export bans.
Chancellor Angela Merkel warned of a general EU export ban on vaccines. There are various international dependencies in vaccine production, said the Chancellor after consultations with the heads of government of the countries. You have to look very carefully at the supply chains. “You have to be careful about imposing general export bans,” said Merkel.
It was right that the EU got an overview of where vaccines are being exported. One will “decide in a responsible manner” how to proceed.
The EU’s anger is primarily directed against the USA and Great Britain, which have so far exported little or no vaccines. The EU’s contract with AstraZeneca lists two factories in Great Britain, one in the Netherlands and one in Belgium as production facilities. Another branch in the USA is listed as an alternative. At the moment, however, only the Belgian factory produces vaccine for the EU.
According to EU Commissioner Gallina, a work from the contract still has to be approved by the European Medicines Agency. AstraZeneca has just started this process. “It is clear that it is impossible to perform a contract when you have only one running in five plants,” said Gallina.
With regard to the vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, which has already been approved in the EU but has not yet been delivered, Gallina said that the first deliveries are expected in mid-April.