Vaccine export controls – the European Union excludes Switzerland

The European Union is now subjecting the export of vaccines to third countries to strict controls. You do not need a permit to export to Switzerland.

EU Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakides introduces the vaccine export mechanism with UNHCR Vice President Valdes Dombrovskis.

EU Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakides introduces the vaccine export mechanism with UNHCR Vice President Valdes Dombrovskis.

Photo: Thierry Mons (Getty Images)

After all, Switzerland is on the safe side. Vaccine manufacturers in the European Union now need a license if they export their preparations to third countries. Switzerland Along with 90 neighboring countries, the Balkan regions and developing countries, they have been explicitly excluded from the new control mechanism from the start. Unlike last year, when Switzerland was temporarily unable to import respirator masks and protective gloves.

Europe first?

This time it’s about something completely different anyway. In fact, the control mechanism is directed almost exclusively against Great Britain. In the background, there is a suspicion that British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has diverted the pre-funded vaccination doses from Brussels to Great Britain. No, it is not about “Europe first”, said European Union Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides: “What we want is a fair insurance policy.” The European Union has saved a lot of money so that vaccine manufacturers can start preproduction before approval.

AstraZeneca was specifically awarded € 336 million in order to be able to fulfill its contractual obligations. Kyriakides said that for the European Union, it is about protecting this investment and the taxpayers’ money. The contract between the European Union and the manufacturer explicitly provides for two factories in Great Britain and one each in the Netherlands and Germany. There the company was supposed to produce a reserve until approval.

European Union approval for AstraZeneca is also for people over the age of 65

In the UK, the AstraZeneca vaccine was approved by the emergency regulation in early January. For the European Union, the European Medical Agency (EMA) issued the approval on Friday, unlike Germany, without restrictions for people over the age of 65. The European Union Commission will officially confirm the decision over the weekend. In Switzerland, you must follow Swissmedic in early February. Vaccine doses can actually start immediately. However, AstraZeneca recently warned customers that it would only be able to deliver a third of the agreed 80 million cans to customers in the European Union by the end of March.

What is known is that AstraZeneca has been experiencing teething issues at its UK production facilities. Therefore, suspicion arose that the group shipped vaccination doses from its factories in Belgium or Germany to Great Britain, which were in fact intended to start vaccination in the European Union. If needed, AstraZeneca should now supply the EU from its British factories, as it is said in Brussels. Tensions are inevitable between the European Union and the United Kingdom.

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