On Wednesday, the European Commission said "reciprocity" would be among the new criteria it would consider before authorizing exports of vaccines outside the 27-nation bloc. The E.U. vaccination campaign lags behind other countries, including the U.K., as Covid-19 cases rise on the continent.
E.U. Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides stressed the new rules were not an export ban — but experts warn that international tensions such as these could have serious side effects. The European Commission and the U.K. issued a brief statement Wednesday night to say they were in talks on vaccine plans and E.U. heads of state will discuss this in a virtual summit Thursday.
“If trade restrictions and other supply-side bottlenecks prevent universal coverage, then this would indeed make us all less safe,” said Rob Yates, director of the global health program at the Chatham House think tank in London.