The European Commission will extend the European mechanism for transparency and authorisation of exports of Covid-19 vaccine, which normally expired at the end of the month, it announced on Thursday.
The mechanism, which has been extended until the end of June, allows for Europe to block shipments of vaccines from European soil, at least for pharmaceutical companies that have a contract with the Commission.
It was put in place at the end of January, in the midst of the Commission’s battle with AstraZeneca. The company had then sharply reduced its deliveries to the EU, while at the same time continuing to deliver at full speed to the UK.
In parallel to the extension, the Commission has simplified the procedure, a spokeswoman announced on Thursday. From now on, different consignments destined for different places in the same third country can be grouped together in a common request.
Belgium was among the countries asking for a simplification of the administrative burden.
Companies wishing to take batches of vaccines out of the EU must notify the national authorities, who will assess the request and give the green light (or not) in consultation with the Commission.
“Since the mechanism came into force, 249 requests for exports to 31 countries have been accepted, for a total of over 34 million doses,” said Miriam Garcia Ferrer.
Only one request was refused, that of AstraZeneca, which wanted to transport 250,000 doses from Italy to Australia. This refusal was announced last week.
The Brussels Times