The mechanism was set up at the end of January as a reaction to vaccine makers’ announcements of delays in the deliveries of Covid-19 vaccines to the EU. It is due to expire at the end of March, but the European Commission wants to extend it through June, two officials said.
“The commission will propose its extension into June. And that was greeted by the member states with approval, not necessarily enthusiasm, but there is a feeling that we still need that mechanism,” one senior EU diplomat said.
When the EU’s export control mechanism was introduced in late January it triggered an outcry from importing countries who feared their vaccine supplies might have been hampered. Under the scheme, companies must get an authorisation before exporting Covid-19 shots, and may have export requests denied if they do not respect their supply commitments with the EU.
However, the EU has authorised all requests for export since the scheme’s debut on 30 January to 26 February, which amounted to 150 requests for millions of shots to 29 countries, including Britain, the United Arab Emirates and Canada, a commission spokeswoman said. She added, however, that at least one request was withdrawn by an exporting company.