European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said that EU exports of Pfizer vaccines to the UK and other countries with higher rollouts will potentially be blocked.
Currently, the EU has had a much slower rollout than the UK, where nearly 25 million doses have been given out.
The EU previously decided not to approve vaccines on an emergency basis, as the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency did to increase rollout speed.
Ms von der Leyen today said “we are in the crisis of the century”, before proceeding to blame AstraZeneca for having “underproduced and underdelivered” to the bloc.
“We will reflect on whether exports to countries who have higher vaccination rates than us are still proportionate.”
The 27 nations that make up the EU have all been suffering shortages of vaccines for some time.
Ms von der Leyen spoke as a result of six countries complaining about reduced deliveries that are hampering the bloc’s troubled inoculation programme.
After being confronted during her speech about merely trying to distract everyone from the bloc’s slow vaccine rollout, she said she wanted to highlight the need for “reciprocity”.
The EU chief has been under pressure over the EU’s handling of the bloc’s vaccination rollout, with Brussels having recently engaged in a bitter row with drug-maker AstraZeneca.
Ms von der Leyen claims that the UK is not providing the vaccines the EU had been promised.
An official spokesman for the Prime Minister said: “I would point you back to the conversation the Prime Minister had with Ursula von der Leyen earlier this year. She confirmed then that the focus of their mechanism was on transparency and not intended to restrict exports by companies where they are fulfilling their contractual responsibilities.”
The EU’s slow vaccine rollout has also threatened to delay the bloc’s proposals to create a vaccine passport, which could allow people to travel more freely by the summer holidays.