PFIZER has accused the EU of delaying the supply of its jabs to countries battling Covid which are in desperate need of vaccines.
The drug maker has slammed export controls which it says have become a “significant burden” for production at its plant in Belgium, which supplies the UK and 70 other countries.
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A man receiving the Pfizer vaccine in France, where Covid cases have been soaringCredit: Rex
Danny Hendrikse, its vice-president for global supply, told The Times that regulations introduced in February put new pressures on the supply chain.
He said company is now required to notify the Belgian government in advance about every parcel of vaccines it plans to export and approval must then be granted by the European Commission.
“It has caused a significant administrative burden and some uncertainty,” he said.
“Ultimately what we would like our colleagues to do is to focus on making and distributing the vaccine.”
The pharmaceutical boss’s comments come as preliminary trial data shows that the Pfizer jab is safe and provides high levels of protection against Covid-19 in children aged 12 to 15.
Pfizer supplies 70 countries including the UKCredit: AP
Researchers reported “robust” antibody responses in the children who were vaccinated, higher than in studies of young adults aged 16 to 25.
Pfizer’s concerns come amid the on-going vaccine fiasco in the EU and the uncertainty about the AstraZeneca jab.
President Emmanuel Macron has announced a three-week nationwide school closure and domestic travel ban amid a surge in coronavirus cases in France.
Adding to the country’s battle against the disease is that France is well behind the UK on its vaccine rollout following a series of U-turns on the AstraZeneca jab.
Macron initially claimed the remedy was not suitable for those aged over 65 before announcing it shouldn’t be given to those under 55 – and then later reintroducing it.
The jab has been backed by Europe’s regulatory agency, as well as the World Health Organisation.
Meanwhile, reports in France claim Macron doesn’t bother listening to experts on Covid any more – despite soaring cases.
Germany and France were last night slammed for flirting with Vladimir Putin over the Sputnik V vaccine after trashing the AZ jab.
Critics warned they risk handing the Kremlin a major PR victory at a time when it is increasing its aggression towards the EU.