ZURICH: A Pfizer executive said the European Union’s restrictions on exporting Covid-19 vaccines will lead to a “ lose-lose ” situation for everyone, including EU members, a day after the European Union tightened oversight of shot deliveries outside its borders.
The EU action would give more leeway to block shipments to countries with higher vaccination rates such as Britain, or that do not share the doses they are producing.
The specter of export restrictions has worried many, given the global nature of vaccine production, as hundreds of ingredients are sourced from dozens of countries.
Companies fear that new roadblocks for bullets or raw materials could disrupt epidemic control efforts as the world struggles to contain a third wave of infections.
“We have watched these latest developments with concern,” Sabine Bruckner, the Swiss director of Pfizer, told a Swiss government news conference on Thursday.
“Our executive leadership was in direct contact with the European Union. Our position has been determined. We are very critical, and we cannot support it at all.”
“If it really comes to export restrictions, it will be a situation where everyone loses, and so does the European Union members.”
New rules put in place by the European Commission, which oversees EU trade policy, expand existing measures aimed at ensuring that planned exports by pharmaceutical companies do not threaten the bloc’s supplies.
They added 17 previously exempt countries, including Israel, Norway and Switzerland, to the list of countries requiring exports of vaccines produced by the European Union for licenses. Switzerland, for example, acquires Pfizer Covid-19 shots from a factory in Belgium.
Pfizer’s Bruckner made the remarks after a Swiss vaccine summit in which Health Minister Alain Perset expected that his country would receive 10.5 million vaccines from suppliers including Pfizer and Moderna by July, which is enough to vaccinate every person in Switzerland who wants an injection.