Status: 02/15/2021 5:00 a.m.
Corona vaccine is missing everywhere in the EU. At the same time, companies from the EU export to numerous countries outside of it – including the UK and the USA. Prove that ARD-Research.
From Markus Preiß,
ARD studio Brussels
Is Europe being tricked by pharmaceutical companies who report delivery problems to the EU – and at the same time supply other countries? To find out after the bitter dispute with the AstraZeneca group, the EU introduced the so-called “transparency mechanism” on January 30, 2021. Accordingly, all manufacturers with whom the EU has a supply contract for Covid-19 vaccines must have their exports to third countries approved.
Upon request of the ARD studios Brussels the EU Commission has now announced that a total of 37 export inquiries were made in the period from January 30 to February 10, 2021. All were approved. Exports are or have gone to 21 countries – including the US, UK, China, Japan, Canada and Australia.
“Data is confidential”
The EU Commission did not want to give precise information about which companies export which quantities of vaccine from the EU: “We cannot provide any further details, as some of the data is confidential.” According to the EU Commission’s response, exports are currently also to these countries: Bahrain, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Oman, Panama, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and the United Arabs Emirates.
The list of countries that are supplied with vaccines from the EU is almost certainly even longer. For many countries do not have to apply for a permit at all: The se include Norway, Switzerland, Israel or the Ukraine. Several dozen countries with “low or middle incomes”, which are to be supplied as part of the global vaccination initiative “Covax”, are also excluded.
EU wants to show solidarity
The EU deliberately does not want to impose a fundamental ban on exports. It is important that the EU as a location and the companies based there remain reliable partners for international trade, the Commission has repeatedly emphasized in recent weeks. In addition, it is important to show solidarity internationally in the corona pandemic.
After the massive criticism of the vaccination strategy, Brussels wants to ensure that the manufacturers fulfill their contracts with EU member states. Before an export license is issued, it is checked “whether the export volume is not too large, so that the implementation of the agreements concluded by the EU with the vaccine manufacturers on purchase guarantees would be at risk”. In plain language, this means: If the promised deliveries in the EU are not fulfilled, there is also no permit for export.
Exports must be disclosed
When companies apply for an export permit, they must disclose not only the pending deliveries but also their exports from the past three months. Brussels wants to get an overview of what happened to vaccines that were produced in the EU before the export license came into force. One company where this information would be particularly interesting is AstraZeneca.
When asked whether the transparency mechanism has now clarified whether AstraZeneca had brought vaccines from the EU to the UK, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen replied last week: “So far, AstraZeneca has not submitted an application for export in this phase.” The transparency mechanism is limited to March 31, 2021. The obligation to obtain export approval applies to all pharmaceutical companies with which the EU has a supply contract for Covid-19 vaccines.
The se are AstraZeneca, Sanofi-GSK, Johnson & Johnson, CurevVac, Moderna and BioNTech / Pfizer.
Vaccine exports from the EU to 21 countries approved
Astrid Corall, ARD Brussels, February 15, 2021 5:46 am