• Wednesday, Dec 01, 2021
  • Last Update : 05:29 am

Britain nearing vaccine deal with European Union

  • Published at 08:53 pm March 27th, 2021
File photo
A healthcare worker prepares an intravenous dose of the "Comirnaty"Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at South Ile-de-France Hospital Group in Melun, near Paris, as part of the coronavirus disease vaccination campaign in France, March 26, 2021 Reuters

Under the deal the EU will remove its threat to ban the export of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines to Britain, The Times reported 

Britain is close to striking a vaccine deal with the European Union as soon as this weekend that will remove the threat of the bloc cutting off supplies, The Times reported on Saturday in this regard.

Under the agreement the EU will remove its threat to ban the export of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines to Britain, it added.

In return, the British government will agree to forgo some long-term supplies of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine that had been due to be exported from a factory in Holland run by AstraZeneca's subcontractor Halix, the newspaper reported.

However, the EU has never threatened a ban on the export of vaccines but has only said it could block on a case-by-case basis specific vaccine shipments to countries with higher vaccination rates or that do not export vaccines to the EU.

"We are only at the start of discussions with the UK. There are no talks over the weekend," an EU Commission source said on Saturday, adding that sending vaccines produced at Halix was not part of the talks.

A second EU source had previously said that the EU has no intention of sharing with Britain the vaccine substance from Halix, which is estimated to have already produced enough for about 15-20 million doses and can produce the equivalent of 5 million shots per month.

The British government, Pfizer-BioNTech, and AstraZeneca were not immediately available for any comment.

The EU's rebuff follows Britain's repeated refusal to share with Brussels AstraZeneca doses produced at two factories in the UK.

The European Medicines Agency on Friday approved the Halix production site in the Netherlands that makes the AstraZeneca vaccine and a facility in Marburg in Germany producing BioNTech/Pfizer shots.

The EU's clearing of the vaccine site comes as the union is banking on it boosting deliveries in the second quarter and accelerating the slow pace of inoculations in the bloc.

Europe's troubled vaccine rollout has led to a quarrel with Britain, which has imported 21 million doses made in the EU, according to an EU official. Britain says it did a better job negotiating with manufacturers and arranging supply chains.

The EU says that Britain should share more, notably to help make up the shortfall in contracted deliveries of AstraZeneca shots.

Brussels and London sought to cool tensions on Wednesday, declaring they were working "to create a win-win situation and expand vaccine supply for all our citizens".

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