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EU threatens to halt COVID vaccine exports as Canada prepares for big deliveries

Last Updated Mar 17, 2021 at 7:48 am PDT

A vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Jan. 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

As EU faces third wave of COVID, production disruptions and blood clot fears with AstraZeneca vaccine causing shortages

Two of Canada's approved vaccines -- the ones made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna -- are produced in Europe

Canada is preparing for record deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines next week

OTTAWA – The European Union is again threatening to halt exports of COVID-19 vaccines to other countries, at a time when Canada is set to see a huge influx of doses with record deliveries coming next week.

As the EU faces a third wave of this pandemic, and production disruptions and fears around blood clots with the AstraZeneca vaccine are causing shortages, the head of the EU is once again talking about preventing deliveries outside that region.

Ursula von der Leyen says this is the crisis of the century and they will have to reflect on the exports to other countries.

“AstraZeneca has unfortunately under-produced and under-delivered, and this painfully, of course, reduced the speed of the vaccination campaign,” von der Leyen told reporters.

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Two of Canada’s approved vaccines — the ones made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna — are produced in Europe.

This comes as Canada is expecting deliveries of  two million doses next week. Procurement Minister Anita Anand says Pfizer is set to deliver 1.2-million doses while Moderna is expected to deliver more than 800,000 doses.

Canada is also in talks with the U.S. about vaccines as President Joe Biden says his government will open access to other countries when the American population is inoculated.

The U.S. has said Canada and Mexico are at the top of the list.

Canada’s vaccination efforts have ramped up in recent weeks after a slower than anticipated start. The country currently has four vaccines approved for emergency use, including those made by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

Several countries in Europe have suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in recent days over reports of dangerous blood clots in some people who received the shot.

This comes despite the company, health officials, and international regulators saying there is no evidence to link the vaccine to these conditions.

Related video: Trudeau says AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is ‘safe and effective

The European regulator said Tuesday there is “no indication” the drug causes clots, and von der Leyen reiterated her trust in the vaccine on Wednesday.

-With files from The Associated Press