File Photo: British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab. Photograph:( Reuters )
The EU and Britain have been at loggerheads over vaccines ever since the UK officially exited the European body on January 1 as the EU partly blamed Oxford's AstraZeneca vaccine makers for failing to fulfil their order.
Britain has summoned the European Union's UK delegation and written to the European Council chief Charles Michel in protest over his claim that the country had imposed a vaccine export ban.
UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab has denied the accusation.
"I wanted to set the record straight. The UK government has not blocked the export of a single COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine components," Raab said, adding, "Any references to a UK export ban or any restrictions on vaccines are completely false. We are all facing this pandemic together."
Britain's foreign ministry said a representative of the EU's delegation has been summoned over the "false claim" to discuss the issue further.
The EU and Britain have been at loggerheads over vaccines ever since the UK officially exited the European body on January 1 as the EU partly blamed Oxford's AstraZeneca vaccine makers for failing to fulfil their order due to production problems in its European factories.
European Council chief Charles Michel in a newsletter had written that "the United Kingdom and the United States have imposed an outright ban on the export of vaccines or vaccine components produced on their territory" leading to a controversy.
Michel said the European block will share jabs with the world and "will not use vaccines for propaganda purposes".
"We should not let ourselves be misled by China and Russia, both regimes with less desirable values than ours, as they organise highly limited but widely publicised operations to supply vaccines to others," Michel asserted amid the row with the UK.
The EU has been struggling with its vaccine rollout policy even as it aims to immunise 70 per cent of adults by mid-September.
Michel said he was "shocked when I hear the accusations of 'vaccine nationalism' against the EU" while adding that "the EU has never stopped exporting."