REUTERS

The European Union has puts in place a transparency and authorization mechanism for exports of COVID-19 vaccines.

The European Commission announced on its website on January 29.

Read alsoHealth Minister announces start of mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign in Feb

"In an effort to ensure timely access to COVID-19 vaccines for all EU citizens and to tackle the current lack of transparency of vaccine exports outside the EU, the Commission has today put in place a measure requiring that such exports are subject to an authorisation by Member States," it said.

"Protecting the health of our citizens remains our utmost priority, and we must put in place the necessary measures to ensure we achieve this. This transparency and authorisation mechanism is temporary, and we will of course continue to uphold our commitments towards low and middle income countries," President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said.

Meanwhile, Ukraine, among other more than 90 countries, was included in the list of countries that will, under certain conditions, be exempted from export authorization requirements.

The Western Balkans countries and members of the Eastern Partnership program, which includes Ukraine, will not be subject to the ban, the media outlet Ukrayinska Pravda reported.

"This mechanism includes a wide range of exemptions to fully honour our humanitarian aid commitments and protect vaccines deliveries to our neighbourhood, and to countries in need covered by the COVAX-facility," Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis said.

The export authorization scheme

The EU says that the measure is not to block exports of vaccines. This implementing act, adopted by urgency procedure and published today, provides for authorizations of exports outside the EU of COVID-19 vaccines until the end of March 2021. This scheme only applies to exports from companies with whom the EU has concluded Advance Purchased Agreements.

This measure is targeted, proportionate, transparent and temporary. It is fully consistent with the EU's international commitment under the World Trade Organization and the G20, and in line with what the EU has proposed in the context of the WTO trade and health initiative.

COVID-19 vaccine for Ukraine

  • In February-March 2021, Ukraine expects the delivery of a vaccine against COVID-19.
  • The first batch of a vaccine via the COVAX Facility will include 8 million doses, which will be enough to vaccinate 4 million people (two shots per person required). First to get vaccinated will be healthcare workers, the elderly, and seriously ill patients.
  • On December 24, 2020, Health Minister Stepanov said that his ministry was working out a plan to increase the COVAX vaccine quota from 8 million to 16 million doses.
  • On December 30, Ukraine signed a contract with China's Sinovac for the supply of 1.9 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine.
  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 170 experimental vaccines are currently at the stage of preclinical trials, 65 are undergoing clinical trials, of which 15 are at the third, last stage.