Pfizer warns EU bureaucracy is holding back worldwide vaccine efforts

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has warned new rules and regulations introduced by the European Union are slowing down the movement of COVID-19 vaccines across borders.

Danny Hendrikse, Pfizer’s vice president for global supply, said in a newspaper interview that it is “absolutely critical” its Belgium plant, which supplies 70 countries, has freedom of movement across borders.  

Under new EU red tape, which Hendrikse says is putting pressure on the supply chain, Pfizer

is required to alert the Belgian government ahead of time for every package of vaccines it intends to export. This in turn needs to be referred to the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, for approval.

Hendrikse told The Times: “It has caused a significant administrative burden and some uncertainty. Ultimately what we would like our colleagues to do is to focus on making and distributing the vaccine.”

European countries have been struggling to secure vaccine supplies and have considered blocking exports of vaccines produced within its borders.

Read: Why Tensions on Vaccine Supplies Are Unlikely to Subside

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