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European Union tightens COVID-19 vaccine export rules, creates post-Brexit outcry

Under the post-Brexit deal, EU products should still be able to travel unhindered from the bloc to Northern Ireland.

January 30, 2021 / 10:18 AM IST
File image: The AstraZeneca office building in Brussels on January 29, 2021. (Image: AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

File image: The AstraZeneca office building in Brussels on January 29, 2021. (Image: AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

The European Union introduced tighter rules on January 29 on exports of COVID-19 vaccines that could hit shipments to nations like the United Kingdom, deepening a dispute with London over scarce supplies of potentially lifesaving shots.

But amid an outcry in Northern Ireland and the UK, the European Commission made clear the new measure will not trigger controls on vaccines shipments produced in the 27-nation bloc to the small territory that is part of United Kingdom bordering EU member Ireland.

Under the post-Brexit deal, EU products should still be able to travel unhindered from the bloc to Northern Ireland.

“In the process of finalization of this measure, the Commission will ensure that the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol is unaffected," the EU's executive arm said in a statement late Friday.