Vaccine Export Controls as Part of the EU’s Pandemic Response: An Impeccable Legal Instrument with Risks and Side Effects

A shortage of medical supplies and devices especially at the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic and hence related questions of procurement and distribution have raised awareness among lawmakers about the need for respective regulation. In order to address risks to the supply of vaccines, the European Union has, inter alia, opted for tightening it’s export control regime. In the following, the adopted implementing regulation will undergo a legal analysis including its policy background and implications. Firstly, the regulation will be outlined highlighting it’s exceptional nature with regard to the general freedom to export. Secondly, it will be shown that the adopted regulation complies with both primary and secondary-law obligations as well as international obligations. Thirdly and lastly, it is however to be discussed whether or not the restrictions to vaccine exports might evoke adverse factual and political outcomes contrary to the regulation’s intentions.