The European Union has threatened to tightly control exports of block-made coronavirus vaccines, which could potentially impact the UK’s supply of Pfizer puffs.
The government said it was in “close contact” with suppliers after the European Commission issued the warning in a dispute with AstraZeneca over dose shortages for member states.
Faced with criticism of a slow adoption in the EU, the European Commission threatened to impose controls on vaccines that would affect the Belgian-made Pfizer vaccine.
European Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides accused the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, which worked with Oxford University on the development of the vaccine, of failing to provide a valid explanation for not giving doses to the block.
She warned the EU “will take all necessary measures to protect its citizens and rights” and said in a radio address that an “export transparency mechanism” would be put in place “as soon as possible”.
“In the future, all companies that manufacture vaccines against Covid-19 in the EU must be notified in good time if they want to export vaccines to third countries,” she said.
However, the UK government remained confident that vaccine supply, with the AstraZeneca sting largely made in Oxfordshire and Staffordshire, will ensure that the first target is met.
A spokeswoman said: “We are staying in close contact with all of our vaccine suppliers.
“Our vaccine supply and scheduled shipments will fully support the first dose offering for all four priority groups by February 15th.”