Vaccine passports 'are inevitable for UK' says expert
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This morning, the European Commission is set to discuss and publish new legislation that will tighten export guidelines, preventing what it has seen as a one-direction flow of vaccines from the EU to the UK. The new proposals are designed to bolster the existing legislature by adding a clause to prevent exports “either by law or through contractual or other arrangements concluded with vaccine manufacturers.”
Although the plans are meant to primarily affect the UK, Canada is the second largest benefactor of EU vaccine exports and therefore stands to lose a great deal when the new proposals are introduced.
Of the 41 million vaccines produced in the Bloc, 10 million were sent to the UK while Canada received 4.3 million.
Canada relies almost entirely on the EU for its vaccine supply, which mostly comprises of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
Speaking to the New York Times, Youmy Han, spokeswoman for Canada’s Minister of International Trade, said: “The proposed measures are concerning.”
She added that International Trade Minister, Mary Ng, has been assured that the EU’s new proposals will “not affect vaccine shipments to Canada.”
She continued: “We will continue to work with the EU and its member states, as we have done throughout the pandemic, to ensure that our essential health and medical supply chains remain open and resilient.”
The new plans were announced after an ever increasing escalation of tensions between AstraZeneca and the EU who have accused the company of prioritising the UK over its other contractual obligations.
Of over 100 million doses promised to the EU, AstraZeneca delivered less than a quarter of what it promised.
The new proposals are set to be backed by Germany’s Angela Merkel and French president Emmanuel Macron despite pleas from Prime Minister Boris Johnson to consider a compromise.
Ursula von der Leyen, European Commision leader, demanded “reciprocity” from the UK in regard to vaccine exports amid Europe’s shambolic handling of the jab rollout and a surging third wave of infections.
EU officials have shared that the new proposals will allow a small measure of discretion – meaning not all exports will be banned.
Compared to Canada, the United States has already secured enough doses of the vaccine to cover all adults in the country by the end of May.
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The US produces and supplies its own set of vaccines from one of its three authorized manufacturers – Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
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