All of Canada’s current vaccine doses from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are made in Europe, potentially putting at risk the entirety of Canada’s vaccine deliveries.
Europe — like Canada — is being shorted on deliveries from Pfizer as the company slows production to expand its plant in Belgium.
But AstraZeneca has also now informed Europe’s production issues will reduce initial deliveries of its vaccine, which Europe is expected to approve for use later this week.
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European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen says in a tweet today that the world’s largest trading bloc will establish “a vaccine export transparency mechanism.”
The EU has accused AstraZeneca of failing to guarantee the delivery of coronavirus vaccines without a valid explanation. It also had expressed displeasure over vaccine delivery delays from Pfizer-BioNTech.
“Europe invested billions to help develop the world’s first COVID-19 vaccines,” EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the World Economic Forum’s virtual event in Switzerland. “And now, the companies must deliver. They must honour their obligations.”
The EU, which invested 2.7 billion euros in vaccine research and production for the drug companies, “means business,” she added, reflecting the heavy pressure EU nations are under to roll out vaccines.
That’s why the EU is preparing a system of strict export controls on all coronavirus vaccines produced in the bloc — raising the spectre that it could prevent the doses from going to countries outside of the EU until its own orders are fulfilled. The commission insists it is basically to monitor whether companies respect their commitments to the EU.
Canada has no ability currently to produce COVID-19 vaccines but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has insisted repeatedly that Canada will get enough vaccine doses for all Canadians who want it by the end of September.
— with files from the Associated Press
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