British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday refuted claims by European Union Council President Charles Michel that Britain had imposed a ban on COVID-19 vaccine exports.
In an online blog posted Tuesday to the EU website, Michel wrote that Britain and the United States have imposed “an outright ban” on the export of vaccines or vaccine components produced in their territory.
Speaking during the prime minister’s question time in the House of Commons, Johnson said Britain had not blocked the export of “a single COVID-19 vaccine” or any vaccine components.
“This pandemic has put us all on the same side in the battle for global health. We oppose vaccine nationalism in all its forms,” he said.
Last year, then-U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order prioritizing any COVID-19 vaccines produced in the United States for U.S. citizens. It is not clear if that order constitutes an outright ban or if U.S. President Joe Biden will let it stand.
The COVID-19 vaccination drive in Britain has been viewed by many as a tremendous success, unlike the 27-nation bloc, where leaders have been criticized for a slow rollout. About 35% of British adults have had a vaccine shot, while the EU is behind with 9.5%
COVID-19 is the disease caused by the coronavirus.