EU asks Britain, others, to export vaccines as it does

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The head of the European Commission said on Thursday Europe was the biggest vaccine exporter in the world and challenged other producers of COVID-19 jabs to match that openness.

The EU has been criticised, especially by vaccine-maker Britain, for "vaccine nationalism" because of its recently introduced vaccine exports monitoring mechanism designed to explain why the EU is not getting the shots it contracted from pharmaceutical companies, notably AstraZeneca.

"Europe is the region that exports most vaccines worldwide. We invite others to match our openness," Ursula von der Leyen told a news conference after a meeting of EU leaders.

Von der Leyen said that while the EU exported 77 million doses of vaccines since Dec 1, 2020, she was not aware of any vaccine exports from Britain.

(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski)