The result has been a troubled vaccine rollout for the richest group of nations in the world. The impact of failures is exacerbated by a third wave that sends healthcare systems across the continent into emergency mode and ushers in painful new lockdowns.
The European Commission, which ordered the vaccines, and the individual governments of member states responsible for their national campaigns have come under severe criticism for their failures by voters tired of lockdowns and the growing number of Covid-19 cases. Public anger and its political cost have increased as the bloc has fallen behind several peers in the rich world in pushing vaccination campaigns forward, despite being home to major manufacturers.
The bloc has seen recipients of vaccines produced in its member countries, as well as in other wealthy countries, run forward with their vaccination campaigns. Almost 60% of Israelis have received at least one dose of the vaccine, 40% of Britons and a quarter of Americans, but only 10% of EU citizens have been vaccinated, according to the latest information released by Our World in Data.
Export brakes are imposed by the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, and although changes to the new rules may still take place before the law is finalized, officials said it was unlikely to be substantial. They are expected to be implemented quickly.
EU officials said the rules would allow for some discretion, meaning they would not result in a blanket export ban, and officials still expected many exports to continue.
“The proposed measures are worrying,” said Youmy Han, spokesperson for Canadian Minister of International Trade, Mary Ng.
“Minister Ng’s counterparts have repeatedly assured her that these measures will not affect vaccine shipments to Canada,” Han said. She added: “We will continue to work with the EU and its Member States, as we have done throughout the pandemic, to ensure that our essential health and medicine supply chains remain open and resilient. ”