An EU health boss has demanded "full transparency" on the export of Covid vaccines from member states and warned they are prepared to take "any action required" to help their inoculation programme.
Stella Kyriakides, the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said on Monday the EU would like all companies producing vaccines, including Pfizer, to "provide early notification" if they want to export them.
She also claimed the EU will not hesitate to "take any action required to protect its citizens and rights," which could hinder the arrival of tens of millions of doses into the UK, reports the Guardian.
Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is coming into the UK from Belgium and AstraZeneca, which makes the Oxford vaccine, also has factories in the EU.
The UK has ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, of which, 25 million have not been dispatched.
Ms Kyriakides said: "We want clarity on transactions and full transparency concerning the export of vaccines from the EU.
"In the future, all companies producing vaccines against Covid-19 in the EU will have to provide early notification whenever they want to export vaccines to third countries.
"Humanitarian deliveries are of course not affected by this.
"The European Union will take any action required to protect its citizens and rights."
Her comments have been branded "mean-spirited and selfish" by shocked MPs, who said bosses should be "ashamed of themselves."
Former party leader, Ian Duncan Smith, said: "This behaviour is atrocious.
"The UK has quite legitimately opened up access to its vaccines and made it very clear it intends vaccines to be sent all around the world.
"Contrast that with the mean-spirited, selfish behaviour of the EU. They ought to be ashamed of themselves."
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Tory MP Peter Bone also said he was "shocked" at the EU's apparent attempt to "block the export of the vaccine just because of its inefficiency and bureaucracy."
He said: "The United Kingdom has provided an extraordinary number of vaccines — we have led the world in it.
“We have vaccinated more people in the last three days than France has.
"It is outrageous from the EU. I think most people will find that quite shocking."
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