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Comment on the dispute over vaccine exports: No rat race

IThe United Kingdom is vaccinated at an impressively fast pace, the pace in the EU countries is unsatisfactory – and the anger is correspondingly high. The Kingdom has, at least so far, large quantities of vaccine doses, and the EU is comforting itself with spring. Promised delivery quantities by the British-Swedish manufacturer Astra-Zeneca have been corrected downwards several times.

At the same time, many millions of vaccine doses have also been delivered to the Kingdom from the EU; as I said, with own undersupply. Against this background, it is not surprising that the British-European dispute over contractual obligations and possible export controls is so heated.

The truth is simple: the more people are vaccinated, the more immune they are to the coronavirus, the faster the economy gets going again. There are several reasons for the EU’s sluggish vaccination campaign. But nobody should be surprised that the EU Commission is considering export controls on something that is literally a matter of life and death and in view of such one-sided delivery relationships.

When the Johnson administration is now swinging the rhetorical club and the EU is warning against vaccination nationalism and protectionism, all one can say is: Yes, that shouldn’t be done. But that goes for both sides. No vaccination doses have yet been delivered from the island to the continent. A rat race for the saving vaccine can only be avoided through cooperation.

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