EU executive says joint vaccine strategy not unravelling

FILE PHOTO: European Union flags flutter outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium August 21, 2020. REUTERS/Yves Herman

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union’s joint vaccine procurement has not unravelled, a spokesman for the European Commission said on Tuesday when asked about individual countries getting jabs from Russia or China that do not have the bloc’s authorisation.

“It’s not that the strategy unravelled,” Commission spokesman Stefan de Keersmaecker said, adding that EU countries have the right to seal their contracts of their own with producers beyond those the Commission agrees on for the bloc.

“For our vaccines, we go through the European Medicines Agency because we want to ensure efficacy and safety. What member states do in addition to that, it’s their responsibility.”

De Keersmaecker said emergency authorisations by particular member states may be more risky than the full EMA procedure.

Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by John Chalmers