The European Union will block exports of AstraZeneca Plc coronavirus vaccines if the company fails to deliver the doses bought by the region on time, according to the EU commissioner in charge of fixing the bloc’s vaccination drive.
“As long as AstraZeneca doesn’t make good on its obligations, everything that’s produced on European soil is distributed to Europeans,” Thierry Breton, the EU’s internal markets commissioner, said on RTL radio Sunday. “If there are surpluses, they will go elsewhere.”
The EU, which has faced vaccine shortages while exporting doses, has been criticized for its much slower rollout than in the US and the UK, which have mostly refrained from exports.
AstraZeneca has pledged to deliver 70 million doses to the EU in the second quarter, Breton said. So far, it met about 30% of its commitment to the EU versus 100% to the UK, he said.
The EU has exported about 40% of its production, including about 20 million doses to the UK, according to Breton. If it can, the bloc will help Britain, which may struggle to get enough doses for those who need two jabs quick enough, he said.
The EU will produce 420 million doses by mid-July, enough to reach herd immunity for its population, Breton said. He defined herd immunity as vaccinating about 70% of adults.
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