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Under the agreement the EU will remove its threat to ban the export of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines to Britain. Image Credit: AFP

London: Britain is close to striking a vaccine deal with the European Union as soon as this weekend that will remove the threat of the bloc cutting off supplies, The Times reported on Saturday.

Under the agreement the EU will remove its threat to ban the export of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines to Britain, it added.

In return, the UK government will agree to forgo some long-term supplies of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine that had been due to be exported from Holland, the newspaper reported.

On Friday, the European Medicines Agency approved Halix production site in the Netherlands that makes the AstraZeneca vaccine and a facility in Marburg in Germany producing BioNTech/Pfizer shots.

The EU’s clearing of the vaccine site comes as the union is banking on them to boost deliveries in the second quarter and accelerate the slow pace of inoculations in the bloc.

Better job

Europe’s troubled vaccine rollout has led to a quarrel with Britain, which has imported 21 million doses made in the EU, according to an EU official. Britain says it did a better job negotiating with manufacturers and arranging supply chains.

The EU says that Britain should share more, notably to help make up the shortfall in contracted deliveries of AstraZeneca shots.

Brussels and London sought to cool tensions on Wednesday, declaring they were working “to create a win-win situation and expand vaccine supply for all our citizens”.

The UK government, Pfizer-BioNTech, and AstraZeneca were not immediately available for comment after office hours.