Macron backs EU decision to block AstraZeneca exports

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PARIS 

French President Emmanuel Macron lashed out against pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca on Thursday for not honoring its contract and expressed support for the European Union’s decision to block all coronavirus vaccine exports as long as laboratories do not keep their commitments.  

Speaking on the sidelines of the European Council summit, Macron affirmed that Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna had kept up with their commitments with regard to the supply of COVID-19 vaccines. 

The contractual commitments France had with AstraZeneca have not been honored, he said.

Holding a chart comparing the number of doses promised and those supplied by the three vaccine makers, he said the British-Swedish company had assured “120 million doses to the EU, but are now promising to deliver 30 million doses. And the deliveries are not there. It was necessary to put in controls.” 

Following the discovery of 29 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in a “raid” in Italy, Macron said he hoped the doses will add to the recovery.  

He added that the control mechanisms activated by the European Commission have helped in identifying doses that would have been diverted. 

“It is not a question of protectionism but of preventing other developed countries from using [the vaccine doses]themselves at the expense of the European Union,” he said, without naming any country. 

Following the shortage of deliveries by AstraZeneca, which has continued to meet the targets for the UK, the EU on Wednesday tightened export regulations to halt shipments of COVID vaccines outside the bloc. 

The new rules will govern exports based on the epidemiological situation, the vaccination rate and access to vaccines in the destination country.

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