In early March, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen threatened to halt exports of EU-manufactured Covid-19 vaccines to the UK unless it reciprocates and starts shipping doses to the EU. The threat reportedly has the backing of Germany, France, Denmark and Italy, but the problem of export reciprocity of COVID-19 vaccines persists.
The dispute has developed amid a major shortfall in the number of doses AstraZeneca was supposed to supply EU member states. The company said that instead of supplying 300 million doses in the first half of the year, it will only be able to supply 100 million due to production problems and export controls.
According to an new overview published by the Commission on March 24, the EU continued to export to the UK during March. The country, which has received the biggest share of the EU's Covid-19 vaccine exports, had been delivered 9.1 million doses as of March 12 and 10.9 million doses as of March 24. Other countries received bigger allotments in the same time period, however. Shipments to Canada increased from 3.9 million doses to 6.6. million doses. Japan, which is starting the vaccinations of senior citizens soon, had received 2.7 million doses by March 12 and 5.4 million doses by March 24. On April 5, the biggest shipment to date, containing of 2 million doses, arrived at a Tokyo area airport from Belgium.