EU to further regulate COVID-19 vaccine exports

The European Union has announced plans to introduce tougher controls on exports of coronavirus vaccines manufactured in the bloc.

In January, the EU adopted an export authorization mechanism for the vaccines in order to tackle delays in delivering the doses.

On Wednesday, the European Commission laid out new criteria for its authorization scheme.

It will consider whether the destination country restricts its own exports of vaccines or their raw materials. It will also assess whether the epidemiological situation and vaccination rates and access to vaccines in the destination country are better or worse than in the EU.

The announcement comes as the bloc is increasingly wary that the vaccine developed by British pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca is being supplied to Britain over others.

The new scheme could affect supplies of vaccines to non-EU member countries.

European Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis told reporters that the regulation will help the body meet the expectations of EU citizens.

The EU maintains it has authorized shipments of 43 million vaccine doses to 33 destinations outside the EU.