UPDATE 1-EU to extend vaccine export control mechanism until end of September

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BRUSSELS, June 22 (Reuters) - European Union governments have supported a plan to extend a mechanism to monitor and potentially limit the export of COVID-19 vaccines from the bloc, a European Commission spokesperson said on Tuesday.

The decision paves the way for the Commission to formally extend in the coming days the extraordinary mechanism until the end of September, an EU official said. The mechanism would otherwise expire at the end of June.

The EU Commission established the mechanism at the end of January in a bid to curb exports of vaccines by pharmaceutical companies deemed not to be respecting their supply commitments with the EU.

The mechanism has allowed the export of hundreds of millions of shots made in the EU towards dozens of countries around the world.

It has been used to block only one shipment of 250,000 AstraZeneca doses to Australia in March, after the Anglo-Swedish firm cut supplies to the EU. (Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio; editing by Jason Neely)