Since it was put in place by the European Commission on 30 January 2021, the European Union’s temporary transparency and authorisation mechanism for COVID-19 vaccines has significantly improved the transparency of vaccines production, deliveries and supply chains. It has also shown that the EU is a global leader in terms of vaccines exports, with Japan being the top recipient.
During the period from 30 January to 12 October 2021, the Member States approved more than 2.700 requests for export authorisations and rejected one request. The total doses authorised for export under the mechanism amount to 832 million to 57 different export destinations. Japan continues to be the No.1 destination of vaccines manufactured in the EU, with 267.6 million doses approved for export during the above period. Actual shipment of the doses is the responsibility of the manufacturer.
Under the mechanism, EU-based pharmaceutical companies must seek authorisation before they export COVID-19 vaccines and their active ingredients. This not only ensures greater transparency in the export of vaccines from the EU, it also aims to ensure that EU citizens have timely access to doses in line with the manufacturers’ contractual obligations.
The scheme, which will remain in place until 31 December 2021, currently covers vaccine exports from Astra Zeneca AB, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna Switzerland/Moderna Inc., Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, CureVac AG, Sanofi Pasteur/Glaxosmithkline Biologicals S.A and Novavax.
The EU remains fully committed to the principles of international solidarity and international responsibility. Vulnerable low- and middle-income countries are not subject to the mechanism, nor are exports in the context of humanitarian emergency response or donations or resales to third countries when purchased by EU Member States under contracts by the EU.
As of 13 October, some 817.4 million vaccine doses have been delivered in the EU and 75.7% of the adult EU population has been fully vaccinated.
On the back of this progress, the EU on 1 July officially launched its Digital COVID Certificate, which certifies that the holder has been vaccinated, received a negative test result or recovered from COVID-19. The certificate facilitates the movement of EU citizens and legal residents across all EU Member States. It will now be important for Japan and the EU to ensure interoperability and compatibility of their respective vaccination certificates, which will be key to the free movement of citizens of both sides.