Britain tells EU: Vaccine export restrictions endanger COVID fight

FILE PHOTO: Vials labelled "COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine" and sryinge are seen in front of displayed EU flag in this illustration taken, February 9, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain said that restrictions on the export of COVID-19 vaccines could endanger the global fight against the virus, adding that it expected the European Union to honour commitments it made over its vaccine programme.

“The global recovery from COVID relies on international collaboration. We are all dependent on global supply chains - putting in place restrictions endangers global efforts to fight the virus,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said on Friday.

The EU executive has backed Italy’s decision to block a shipment of 250,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Australia.

“The PM did speak to (EU) President von der Leyen earlier this year and she confirmed that the focus of their mechanism was on transparency and not intended to restrict export by companies... we would expect the EU to continue to stand by its commitments.”

Reporting by William James; editing by Guy Faulconbridge