Pfizer boss accuses EU of hampering Covid vaccine rollout 

Pfizer has accused the European Union of hampering its Covid vaccine production.

The US drugmaker, which supplies Britain and more than 70 other countries with coronavirus jabs, said new EU rules about the free movement of goods across borders are damaging its ability to export the vaccine.

The rules oblige manufacturers to seek Brussels’ approval before exporting every parcel of jabs, which has caused “a significant administrative burden and some uncertainty”, said Danny Hendrikse, the pharmaceutical giant’s vice-president of global supply.

“Ultimately what we would like our colleagues to do is to focus on making and distributing the vaccine,” he said.

On Wednesday, the EU’s medical regulator told Germany and France that they had no reason to stop using AstraZeneca vaccines after its rollout was halted over concerns about a rare blood disease.

European leaders had threatened to block exports of the vaccine to Britain while demanding that AstraZeneca boost production on the Continent.

The export plan was vetoed, but EU officials said on Wednesday that no jabs would be shipped to the UK if AstraZeneca failed to meet its commitments to the bloc.

Europe’s vaccine rollout has been slow, with France administering about 10.7m jabs, far fewer than the UK’s 30.9 million doses. Germany has delivered about 12.9m doses.

It comes as a third wave of the virus is spreading through Europe, with Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday announcing a month-long lockdown in France that includes school closures.

More Stories
Ban Ki-moon asked to act on complaint against Beijing Games