Britain is close to concluding a vaccine deal with the EU, possibly over the weekend, which will remove the threat of disrupting deliveries to the bloc, Britain’s The Times reported on Saturday.
Under the agreement, the EU will lift the threat of banning Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines from being exported to Britain, the paper added.
For its part, the British government will agree to waive Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine supplies, which were to be exported from a factory in the Netherlands to Halix, an AstraZeneca partner.
However, the EU has never threatened to ban the export of vaccines, but has made it clear that it may, on a case-by-case basis, ban the shipment of specific vaccines to countries with higher vaccination rates or countries that do not export vaccines to the EU.
“We are just at the beginning of talks with the United Kingdom. “There will be no talks this weekend,” a European Commission source said on Saturday, adding that the talks did not include the shipment of vaccines produced in the Netherlands.
A second EU source had earlier said the EU had no intention of sharing vaccines with Britain from Halix, which is estimated to have already made enough for about 15-20 million doses and could make five million vaccines. per month.
The EU’s objection follows Britain’s repeated refusal to share with Brussels the doses of AstraZeneca vaccines produced in two UK factories.
On Friday, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) gave the green light for the operation of Halix production plants in the Netherlands, which manufactures the AstraZeneca vaccine, and at a Pfizer production plant in Marburg, Germany.
The first AstraZeneca vaccines to be produced at the plant in the Netherlands are expected at the end of March, while the first batches of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine at the Marburg plant are expected to be delivered in early April.
The purpose of these changes is to increase the production capacity and supply of vaccines in the European Union market.
The problem with vaccine deliveries in Europe has led to rivalry with Britain, which has imported 21 million doses of vaccines made in the EU, according to a bloc official.