VILNIUS – Supply of COVID-19 vaccines in the European Union (EU) is sufficiently smooth and in Lithuania – “truly satisfactory in the large majority of cases”, Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nauseda has said.
“The supply of vaccines is relatively smooth, when interacting with many manufacturers, except one. Unfortunately, the volumes supplied by that manufacturer do not correspond to those previously agreed commitments hence we shall make every effort to improve the situation,” he said after the European Council meeting on Thursday.
On Wednesday, the European Commission tightened its vaccine export control mechanism to prevent what it sees as an unfair one-way flow of vaccines out of the bloc.
From now on, the Commission will assess COVID-19 case incidence and the stock of vaccines in the countries importing vaccines from the EU as well as their willingness to send vaccines and their components to the Community.
The measure will allow limiting vaccine exports to countries like the UK, which produce some of their own vaccines but do not in turn send doses to the EU.
EU officials emphasized that the new system did not amount “to a total export ban” and was not targeted at any specific country. They reminded, however, that UK-based AstraZeneca had not fully implemented its commitments on the supply of its vaccine to Europe.
Nauseda welcomed the Commission’s decision, which he described as “an adequate measure given the tense situation”.
Lithuania was now among the countries that received “relatively more doses of vaccines” as it had “distributed its manufacturers’ portfolio adequately”, he said.
“Supply is truly satisfactory in the large majority of cases… The goal to vaccinate 70 percent of adult population on the EU level by the end of summer remains unchanged. Lithuania can be among the countries that can achieve that even somewhat earlier,” the president said.
Nauseda said previously that Lithuania’s goal was to achieve herd immunity by July 6, the Statehood Day.
According to the data from Statistics Lithuania, more than 300,000 people, or nearly 11 percent of the country’s population, have already received at least their first coronavirus vaccine shots so far.