Swiss exempt from EU vaccine export controls

European Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis speaks during an online news conference on Friday Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

Switzerland is among the countries exempt from the European Union’s vaccine export controls, the European Commission said on Friday. The plan has been drawn up to ensure that the EU has enough supplies of Covid-19 vaccine.

This content was published on January 29, 2021 - 18:22

EU trade commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis told a news conference that the export monitoring and controls were "time limited", initially lasting until the end of March, and applied to Covid-19 vaccines the EU had bought in advance.

The bloc could block the export of a vaccine if it determined that this could undermine the EU's own supplies. The European Commission has however stressed that this is not an export ban.

Donations to COVAX, designed for poorer countries, will be exempted, as will a large number of EU neighbours, including Norway, Switzerland and countries of the western Balkans and North Africa. But Britain will not be exempted.

In a response to the Swiss news agency Keystone-SDA, the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) declined to comment on the decision, saying that it was too early to make a statement

Drugmakers will have to request export authorisation in the EU country where the vaccine is manufactured. That country would consult with the Commission to take a decision in two working days.

The EU has publicly rebuked Anglo-Swedish AstraZeneca for failing to deliver vaccine shots as promised. EU countries have also received fewer deliveries of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines than expected. Switzerland is affected by the temporary Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine shortage.

On Friday evening, the Swiss authorities said around 500,000 vaccine doses had been delivered to Switzerland so far.

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