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The European Commission said it will require pharmaceutical companies producing COVID-19 vaccines in the EU to register in advance any exports of doses to third countries. The register is expected to be put into effect this week, and will keep track of which EU producers make vaccine exports and how many doses they ship outside of the bloc. Under the plan, vaccine makers would also need a license to export doses made in the EU. "The EU will take any action required to protect its citizens and its rights," said Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides earlier Monday. The EU rollout of COVID-19 vaccines has been criticized for its sluggish start, with per capita vaccination rates lagging behind the United States and United Kingdom.
British-Swedish pharma company AstraZeneca is under pressure from EU leaders after the company warned last week it would fall far short of supply targets.The AstraZeneca vaccine still needs to be approved in the EU, with regulators expected to announce their decision on Friday. BioNTech-Pfizer, which produces doses in Germany and Belgium, also announced last week that it would have to cut delivery of doses to EU countries due to supply problems.
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