Great Britain

EU warned: 'Dangerous' threats of Covid vaccine export ban could open 'Pandora's box'

EU 'may seize control of AstraZeneca production' warns expert

Following a shortfall of AstraZeneca vaccine deliveries, key EU officials have discussed the possibility of banning dose exports in an effort to maintain supplies. But Professor James Crabtree, of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, said the EU could open up “Pandora’s box” if enforces restrictions.

Prof Crabtree believes European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is “really struggling” as the UK and US surge ahead with their vaccine rollouts.

He added: “There’s enormous political pressure…to begin to experiment with a kind of vaccine nationalism.

“This is, of course, very dangerous because the EU is normally one of the most responsible international actors.”

Prof Crabtree added that the EU risks starting a chain of events where countries like India do not export vaccine supplies, saying an export ban could open “Pandora’s box”.

READ MORE: UK set to send warning to EU in last-ditch bid to stop export ban

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen speaks to the media about the covid-19 passeport in the Berlaymont, the EU Commission headquarter, on March 17, 2021 in Brussels, Belgium

EU news: A professor warned the bloc against ‘dangerous’ vaccine export bans (Image: PA)

James Crabtree appearing on CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Friday MARCH 19 2021

EU news: James Crabtree said a ban would open ‘Pandora’s box’ as other countries retaliate (Image: CNBC)

Speaking to CNBC, Prof Crabtree said other countries could respond to an export ban by prioritising vaccines for their own populations.

He told the broadcaster: “If it begins to try and restrict the flow of vaccines out of EU factories, then it opens up a Pandora’s box in which countries like India may then begin to do the same.”

Prof Crabtree believes the policy would lead to an increased risk of new Covid variants delaying vaccination rollouts.

Other scientists have flagged the need to rollout out vaccines globally in order to curb the pandemic quicker.

Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice President of the EU Commission, speaks at a press conference with Federal Minister of Economics Altmaier after the informal talks of the EU Trade Ministers SEPTEMBER 21 2020

EU news: Valdis Dombrovskis said it was ‘highly unfair’ to accuse the bloc of jab nationalism after exporting 77 million doses (Image: PA)

Boris Johnson gives evidence to the Commons Liaison Committee in the House of Commons, London. Picture date: Wednesday March 24, 2021

EU news: The bloc has demanded the UK export doses of vaccine to European countries (Image: PA)

Valdis Dombrovskis, EU trade chief, rebuffed accusations the bloc is taking part in vaccine nationalism.

He said it was “highly unfair” to accuse the EU of hoarding jabs after data showed the bloc exported 77 million doses of the shots to 33 countries since December.

Meanwhile, 88 million doses of vaccines made in the bloc have been delivered to EU countries.

The EU has called on the UK to share vaccine doses.

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Britain is said to be offering the Republic of Ireland 3.7 million coronavirus vaccines, according to the Sunday Times.

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab, chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove, and Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis are said to have talked privately in a bid to ensure no cross-border transmission takes place.

It would mark the first time the UK had shipped vaccines to an EU nation, with one cabinet minister describing it as “a poke in the eye to Brussels”.

Another told the paper: “It is a balancing act, making sure that we have enough vaccines to give the UK’s adult population the second dose.

“Easter will be when we might be able to start offering vaccines to Ireland.”

Express.co.uk March 28 2021 coronavirus vaccine data

EU news: More than 33.02 million doses have been administered in the UK (Image: EXPRESS)

Express.co.uk March 28 2021 UK coronavirus case death vaccine data

EU news: 3,862 cases and 19 deaths were recorded yesterday (Image: EXPRESS)

The UK has administered more than 33.02 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine, with 30,151,287 million being first doses.

Yesterday saw the UK record 3,862 cases and 19 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test.

In total, the UK has recorded 4,333,042 cases and 126,592 deaths.

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