Mr. Johnson’s vaccine bounce, analysts point out, could be fleeting if a new variant emerges or if the economy does not recover swiftly.

But Mr. Goodwin said one consequence of the vaccine success is that there are few signs of significant numbers of people rethinking the wisdom of Brexit or suffering the acute regret — or as he called it, “Bregret” — that some expected.

The British media has understandably given more coverage to the 28 million people who have been inoculated than to the post-Brexit trade disruptions that have afflicted some British food and seafood exports and left supermarket shelves in Northern Ireland empty.

The monthslong shutdown of much of Britain’s economy will also complicate the task of identifying the negative effects of Brexit, since they are likely to be lost in a sea of red ink. And long before the pandemic, economists predicted that Brexit’s biggest cost would be to dampen economic expansion, an effect that would compound almost imperceptibly over many years, rather than create a sudden shock.

In any event, the vaccine rollout has helped the government to hone a separate and distinct argument for Brexit, one that emphasizes responsibility and accountability over economic costs or benefits.

David Frost, a former diplomat who negotiated the Brexit trade agreement for Mr. Johnson and is now a cabinet minister, articulated this case earlier this month when he said Britain’s membership in the European Union had stifled its initiative, producing “a kind of institutional paralysis.”

Britain faced problems “which we seemed to find very difficult to summon up the will to resolve, and I do think E.U membership had a kind sapping quality to our ability to take decisions,” he said at the Policy Exchange, a research institute.

“Brexit doesn’t solve those problems,” Mr. Frost added, “but it does give us means to solve them, to move on, to get a grip but also to reform our attitudes and become a country that can deal with problems again.”

Britain, officials point out, made risky bets on multiple vaccine candidates and aggressively locked up supplies in advance — characteristics, they say, that were conspicuously lacking in the European Union’s plodding, lockstep, risk-averse approach.

But critics argue that Britain could have done much of what it did as an active member of the European Union. The British medical regulator always had the right to approve vaccines, on an emergency basis, faster than the rest of the bloc — as it did last December — and the government always had the freedom to buy doses separately from the bloc, as some other E.U. countries have since done.

The strengths of Britain’s rollout, these critics said, are rooted in its robust scientific establishment, which developed the AstraZeneca-University of Oxford vaccine, and its widely revered National Health Service, which has delivered the doses. Neither of those were strengthened by leaving the European Union.

Britain cut its own deal with AstraZeneca, an Anglo-Swedish company, which is at the heart of its clash with the European Union, which was slower to make such purchases. Brussels has accused the company of giving Britain preferential treatment at the expense of the bloc.

European leaders will be weighing a plan this week to halt vaccine exports temporarily as a way to demand reciprocity with Britain and other countries, and that could leave Britain — and Mr. Johnson — badly exposed. The country relies heavily on vaccines manufactured in factories in Belgium and other European countries to keep the pace of its inoculations going.

“What Brexit changes is Britain’s ability to protect the overseas parts of its supply chains,” said Mark Malloch Brown, a diplomat and former Labour government minister who chaired an anti-Brexit group, Best for Britain. “The crisis, looked at from the other end, exposes Britain’s vulnerability.”

Britain’s reliance on the European Union goes beyond a steady supply of vaccines. It is by far Britain’s largest trading partner, and the two sides have close links in security and law enforcement. While Mr. Johnson himself has avoided using overtly provocative language against Brussels, he has overseen a rapid deterioration in relations since Britain officially cast off on Jan. 1.

“I’m worried that they’re getting so carried away by the evidence that Brexit was a good thing, that they’re going to carry on dissing Europe,” said Jonathan Powell, who served as chief of staff to Prime Minister Tony Blair. “Then the next time we need them for something, it’s going to backfire on us.”

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With a Police Raid and the Threat of Export Curbs on Vaccines, the E.U. Plays Tough

BRUSSELS — Tipped off by European authorities, a team of Italian police inspectors descended on a vaccine-manufacturing facility outside Rome over the weekend. They discovered 29 million doses of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines, feeding suspicions that the company was trying to spirit them overseas instead of distributing them in the European Union.

Four days of checks later, Italian officials accepted AstraZeneca’s explanation that the doses were going through quality control before being shipped to the developing world, and to European countries.

The cinematic raid — intended to put a little muscle behind European Union threats to make the company stop exporting doses — now stands as a vivid example of just how desperate the hunt for vaccines is getting. It was also a sign of the continuing tensions between the bloc and those it suspects might be cheating.

On Wednesday the bloc flexed its powers even more, unveiling emergency rules that grant it broad authority to halt exports of Covid vaccines made in the E.U., escalating an uncharacteristically protectionist stance and risking a fresh crisis in its fragile relations with Britain, a former member.

very advanced in its vaccination campaign and therefore is seen as less needy.

The new rules encourage blocking shipments to countries that do not export vaccines to the European Union or to countries that have “a higher vaccination rate” than the European Union “or where the current epidemiological situation is less serious” than in the bloc.

The European Commission tried to explain why the export measures were necessary.

“Nineteen countries are now reporting increasing case numbers, 15 member states are reporting increased hospital ICU admissions, while eight member states are now reporting increased numbers of deaths,” said Stella Kyriakides, the bloc’s health commissioner.

“This is where we stand today, we’re dealing with a pandemic,’’ she added. ‘‘And this is not seeking to punish any countries. We are the strongest supporters of global solidarity.”

With the threat of export restrictions hanging in the air, the British government and the European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, struck a conciliatory tone.

“Given our interdependencies, we are working on specific steps we can take — in the short, medium and long term — to create a win-win situation and expand vaccine supply for all our citizens” a joint statement issued Wednesday said.

The E.U. has come under criticism at home for permitting exports in the first place, when the United States and Britain practically locked up domestic production for domestic use through contracts with pharmaceutical companies. Until now, the E.U. blocked only a single small shipment to Australia on the grounds that the country was virtually Covid-free.

E.U. officials said the new rules would allow a degree of discretion, meaning they won’t result in a blanket ban on exports, and the officials still expected many exports to continue.

But the measures caused discomfort in many E.U. countries, including the Netherlands and Belgium — both home to major vaccine-exporting factories — and added to worries about disruptions to global supply chains as well as damage to their reputations. Others, such as France and Italy, were happy to see the E.U. take tougher action. E.U. leaders were set to meet via teleconference to discuss the situation Thursday.

“With this mechanism we have a certain leverage, so we can engage in discussion with other major vaccine producers,” Valdis Dombrovskis, the bloc’s trade czar, said at a news briefing Wednesday.

“Despite the fact that the E.U. is one of the global hot spots of the pandemic, the E.U. is at the same time also the second largest exporter of vaccines,” Mr. Dombrovskis said.

From the E.U. perspective, things are so dire that experts argue the export curbs shouldn’t draw shock or consternation.

“In a situation where 70 million doses have been delivered to the E.U. and 40 million have been exported, I do think you don’t have to be too shy about it,” said Guntram Wolff, director of the Brussels-based Bruegel think tank.

“I would have preferred the Commission had fixed this issue earlier with better contracts, but from an ethical point of view, how can you justify shipping a vaccine to the U.K. for a 30-year old to be vaccinated, when a 70-year-old in Belgium is still waiting?”

Mr. Wolff said that trading partners such as Britain should cut the E.U. some slack because of the circumstances, but noted the more aggressive approach was risky.

“At the end of the day, how many more vaccines can you get and what is the risk? An escalation, a trade war, and if supply chains get disrupted, a net-negative outcome for everyone because the overall supply of vaccine goes down,” he said.

These were good reasons, he added, to keep the export control option for leverage but avoid using it as much as possible.

Gaia Pianigiani contributed reporting from Siena, Italy; Monika Pronczuk from Brussels and Benjamin Mueller from London.

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Pope Struggles to Contain Conservative-Liberal Tensions in Catholic Church

Pope Francis is struggling to manage powerful bishops in the U.S. and Germany, two groups at opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, as he tries to advance his progressive agenda without jeopardizing the unity of the Catholic Church.

The election of President Biden, a progressive Catholic whom some U.S. bishops want to censure for his support of abortion rights, has exacerbated longstanding tensions between the pope and the largely conservative American episcopate. U.S. church leaders have resisted promoting the pope’s priorities of social and economic justice and care for the environment over opposition to abortion and defense of religious freedom.

On the left, the pope is trying to rein in German bishops who—encouraged by the pope’s liberalizing gestures on topics including sexuality, ecumenism and the role of women—are pressing for changes that go further than Pope Francis is comfortable with, and that conservatives warn could cause a schism.

Pope Francis’ most recent attempt to restrain the Germans came in this week’s Vatican document forbidding clergy to bless same-sex unions, a practice supported by some leading German bishops.

Each country presents “a different set of issues, a different set of struggles but I think some of the underlying dynamics are the same,” said Adam DeVille, a professor of theology at Indiana’s University of Saint Francis. “In both cases, the pope I think is really trying to say, ‘come on guys, let’s rein it in here, let’s get back into the same lane all together.’”

For years, a minority of U.S. bishops closely associated with Pope Francis have pressed for greater adherence to his social agenda. In November 2019, the last time the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops met in person, liberals protested a statement in the conference’s voter guide describing opposing abortion as its “pre-eminent priority.”

In response to a request for comment from The Wall Street Journal, the USCCB said, “Advocacy for the poor and marginalized, migrants, people on death row, the unborn, and everyone in need of God’s mercy is central to the mission of the USCCB, and in this, there is an unbreakable unity with the Holy Father.”

Following Mr. Biden’s election, Pope Francis broke protocol by phoning to congratulate the president-elect. But on inauguration day, Archbishop José Gómez of Los Angeles, president of the USCCB, said, “Our new president has pledged to pursue certain policies that would advance moral evils and threaten human life and dignity, most seriously in the areas of abortion, contraception, marriage and gender.”

Meanwhile, some bishops say Mr. Biden’s abortion stance makes him ineligible to receive the Eucharist.

“I do not think he should be presenting himself for Communion,” said Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco. “If I knew he were coming and planning to attend Mass, I’d engage in a conversation with him ahead of time to clarify that.”

Asked about the archbishop’s statement, a White House official said on Friday that it was a private matter.

Cardinal Wilton Gregory, a progressive who as archbishop of Washington, D.C., is Mr. Biden’s pastor, has said that the president may continue to receive Communion there.

For Mr. DeVille, the disagreement over how to handle Mr. Biden exemplifies a larger trend: “The U.S. bishops are hardening in some ways into, not totally divergent paths, but clearly different paths…with differently ranked priorities from the pope,” he said, noting that Pope Francis is 84 years of age and perhaps approaching the end of his pontificate. “A lot of the American bishops, especially those on the younger side, are just going to wait him out.”

For his first international trip during the pandemic, Pope Francis visited Iraq.

Meanwhile in Germany, bishops and leading lay Catholics are engaged in a national synod considering major changes to church life, including the possibility of women clergy, married priests and changes to church teaching on sexuality.

This week’s Vatican statement that clergy may not bless same-sex relationships because God “cannot bless sin,” which contrasted with the pope’s conciliatory approach to homosexuality, was meant specifically as a message to Germany, said Sandro Magister, a Vatican expert who writes for Italy’s L’Espresso magazine. Conservative bishops in both the U.S. and Germany have warned that the German synod could lead the church into a split with the rest of the Catholic world.

The statement drew defiant reactions from clergy in Germany and beyond, including Austria and Belgium, with some priests vowing to bless gay couples despite the prohibition.

“The danger is that the German church, if permitted, will become an autonomous church deviating on important points of doctrine,” Mr. Magister said. “This explains why the pope is putting on the brakes.”

Mr. Magister also saw a warning to Germany in the pope’s decision in February 2020 not to loosen requirements for priestly celibacy or allow the ordination of women deacons in Latin America’s Amazon region, despite his earlier indications of openness to those possibilities to address a serious shortage of clergy there.

Vatican offices have also recently issued statements that rule out giving Communion to Protestants or allowing laypeople to administer parishes on an equal basis with priests, both ideas popular with German bishops.

According to Massimo Faggioli, a professor of theology at Villanova University, Pope Francis prefers to delegate the delivering of messages that his progressive supporters will find disagreeable.

“When there are gestures of welcoming and so on, it is Francis that does them. When there is some bad news, he lets the CDF,” Mr. Faggioli said, referring to the Vatican’s doctrinal office.

Despite disappointment in Germany with the statement on gay couples, liberals there retain an overwhelmingly positive view of the pope, said Ludwig Ring-Eifel, head of the German bishops’ news agency KNA.

“The perception goes somewhat like this: Francis has opened all the doors which [Popes John Paul and Benedict] had previously declared closed on gays, on celibacy, on intercommunion. But the conservatives in the Vatican still stand in his way, and he alone is too weak to complete the revolution,” Mr. Ring-Eifel said.

Write to Francis X. Rocca at francis.rocca@wsj.com and Ian Lovett at ian.lovett@wsj.com

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Where Europe Went Wrong in Its Vaccine Rollout, and Why

BRUSSELS — The calls began in December, as the United States prepared to administer its first batches of Covid-19 vaccine. Even then, it was clear that the European Union was a few weeks behind, and its leaders wanted to know what they could learn from their American counterparts.

The questions were the same, from President Emmanuel Macron of France, President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission, and Alexander De Croo, the prime minister of Belgium.

“How did you do it?” Dr. Moncef Slaoui, the United States vaccine czar, recalled them asking on the calls. “And what do you think we missed?”

Since then, the rollout gap between Europe and the United States has only widened, and some of the countries hardest hit early in the pandemic are facing a deadly third wave of infections. France, large parts of Italy, and other regions are back in lockdown. Roughly 20,000 Europeans die of Covid-19 each week.

temporarily halt the distribution of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Most of them resumed using it on Friday, after Europe’s top drug regulator vouched for its safety, but public confidence in the shot has been badly shaken.

Vaccine salvation remains, for now, still tantalizingly out of reach. Only about 10 percent of Europeans have received a first dose, compared with 23 percent in the United States and 39 percent in Britain.

There is no single culprit. Rather, a cascade of small decisions have led to increasingly long delays. The bloc was comparatively slow to negotiate contracts with drugmakers. Its regulators were cautious and deliberative in approving some vaccines. Europe also bet on vaccines that did not pan out or, significantly, had supply disruptions. And national governments snarled local efforts in red tape.

leaders pointing fingers over why some of the world’s richest countries, home to factories that churn out vast quantities of vaccine, cannot keep pace with other wealthy nations in injecting its people.

Compared with nearly all the rest of the world, the European Union is in an admirable position. Its leaders say it remains feasible to vaccinate 70 percent of the Continent by this summer. The bloc has ordered enough doses to fully vaccinate its population at least three times, to the consternation of countries that will wait years for full coverage.

But Europeans are stung, especially, to see Britain’s rollout going so well after the country exited the bloc. Everyone wants to know why the E.U. has not triumphed.

The European Union trailed the United States and Britain from the start.

Washington had already spent billions on clinical trials and manufacturing by the time Europe decided to pool its resources and negotiate as a bloc. In mid-June, the European Commission, the bloc’s executive branch, announced a joint vaccine purchase with a $3.2 billion pot.

$10 billion budget. European officials say it’s unfair to compare the two figures because neither amount is a complete picture of all the money spent on vaccines. But there is no dispute that in Washington, officials had decided that money was no object if vaccines could avert the economic cost of a lockdown. Europe, on the other hand, was on a tight budget, so its negotiators chased cheaper doses.

“Pricing has been important since the beginning,” Sandra Gallina, the E.U.’s main vaccine negotiator, told lawmakers in February. “We are talking about taxpayers’ money.”

AstraZeneca has slashed its delivery plans, telling European leaders that it would hand over 100 million fewer doses by the middle of the year, according to the commission’s president, Ms. von der Leyen.

Only one in five French people now trust the AstraZeneca vaccine, according to a poll by the Elabe Institute published Tuesday.

Now Europe is striking a more aggressive tone about protecting its interests. Italy blocked a small shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines to Australia earlier this month. Ms. von der Leyen upped the ante this week, threatening to use an emergency mechanism, last used during the 1970s oil crisis, that would allow the bloc to seize production of vaccines.

“It is hard to explain to our citizens why vaccines produced in the E.U. are going to other countries,” Ms. von der Leyen said.

Early this month, Toon Vanagt, a Belgian tech entrepreneur, accompanied his 77-year-old father to a vaccination center north of Brussels. Mr. Vanagt, 47, was not eligible for the vaccine himself, but a worker there offered him a leftover shot, which he gladly accepted.

software companies have rushed to link patients with doses that would otherwise expire. But in Belgium, when Mr. Vanagt tweeted that he had been vaccinated, it became a mini scandal. Health officials rebuked the vaccine center, which quickly apologized: “A minor communication problem, very quickly rectified.”

Belgium’s rollout is one example of the Continent’s rigid approach to following vaccination guidelines. In a country where nursing home infections led to one of the highest per capita death tolls, the policy was intended to strictly prioritize the neediest residents.

Many European countries are also stockpiling doses to guarantee that everyone who receives a first injection will receive the second dose on time. The United States and Britain have been more flexible, erring on the side of giving more first injections.

“In the U.S., there is a much more flexible, liberal system and you just vaccinate people who come along. Same in the U.K. And it can go quicker. Here it is quite regulated,’’ said Steven Van Gucht, the Belgian government’s top virologist, who said it was too soon to know which system is better.

Administrative hiccups have exacerbated the problems. In Frankfurt, Elke Morgenstern was escorted out of a vaccine center because she enrolled using the wrong online application. “It was embarrassing,” said Ms. Morgenstern, adding that she qualified for a vaccine because of a pre-existing condition.

Because of the AstraZeneca shortages, she cannot book another appointment before May.

“It is a catastrophe how they are handling things here,” she said.

In the Lombardy region of Italy, once the epicenter of the pandemic, the vaccination campaign got off to a slow start in part because the top health care official refused to marshal medical workers over the Christmas holidays. Technical difficulties worsened the problems at the region’s vaccination centers.

“Some sessions were empty,” said Paola Pedrini, the regional secretary general for Italy’s family doctors federation. “For some others, they called 900 people when they could only vaccinate 600.”

For all the problems, Dr. Slaoui said Europeans are in an admirable position. By the numbers, the Continent is about five weeks behind the United States, with vaccine supply expected to increase steadily. “It’s too late to have taken the first bite,” he said. “But they’re in a good place.”

Dr. Van Gucht, of Belgium, agreed. But he said European leaders will likely take nationalistic lessons from the past months.

“I think we relied a little bit too much on the free markets,” he said. “What you really need to do from the beginning is really make sure you produce the vaccines on your territory and that they’re destined for your own population.”

Jason Horowitz and Emma Bubola contributed reporting from Italy and Melissa Eddy from Berlin.

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AstraZeneca Vaccine Cleared by EU After Blood-Clot Concerns

The European Union’s health agency said that the Covid-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca PLC was “safe and effective” and didn’t increase the risk of blood clots, a decision that could clear the way for the resumption of inoculation campaigns that have been halted in much of the region.

The European Medicines Agency said that new expert analysis concluded that the benefits of using a Covid-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca outweigh its potential risks and inoculations with it should proceed.

EU authorities are hoping the EMA’s statement could put a problem-plagued vaccination campaign back on track, although it remains to be seen whether the new analysis will overcome mistrust of the AstraZeneca shot among many Europeans.

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Many European countries, including Germany, France and Italy, suspended the vaccine’s use over the past week following reports that people who had received it developed rare blood clots, and some had died, further slowing Europe’s already sluggish vaccination rollout.

Those reports compounded the delays and uncertainties surrounding a drive that has left the EU far behind the U.S. and the U.K. in vaccinating its citizens.

The EMA’s safety committee found the vaccine to be “safe and effective in preventing Covid-19, and its benefits outweigh its risk,” said committee chair Sabine Straus. Dr. Straus said that since blood clots are associated with Covid-19, by inoculating people against the disease, the vaccine “likely reduces the risk of thrombotic incidents overall.”

Health officials have noted that blood clots are widespread for a variety of reasons. Clots have also been noted among people receiving other Covid-19 vaccines and can be caused by medications as common as birth-control pills.

Dr. Straus said the EMA identified a predominance of the blood clots found were among women, particularly younger women. She said it remained “premature to conclude” whether this is linked to greater risk among the groups or the makeup of the populations receiving the vaccine.

EMA Executive Director Emer Cooke said the experts found a limited number of blood clots that require further study and the agency “still cannot rule out definitively a link.”

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The EMA as a result recommended “raising awareness” by including a warning with the vaccination and informing the public. Such a campaign could help people who receive the AstraZeneca vaccine to know what to look for after getting the shot.

Ms. Cooke on Tuesday had expressed concern that doubts being cast on it could hurt public trust in vaccines. Asked in a news conference Wednesday if she personally would get the AstraZeneca shot, she said, “If it was me, I would be vaccinated tomorrow, but I would want to know that if something happened to me,” what to do.

Ms. Cooke, noting that many EU countries had suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine pending the EMA’s review, said its conclusions should give them “the information they need to take an informed decision regarding the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in their vaccination campaigns.”

So far seven million people in the EU have received the vaccine and 11 million in the U.K., Ms. Cooke said.

Analysis of the vaccine took on extra urgency this week after the Paul Ehrlich Institute, Germany’s medicines regulator, Monday recommended suspending the vaccine’s rollout pending further investigation.

Alerts and web-browser tools can help you book a Covid-19 vaccine appointment. WSJ’s Joanna Stern met up with Kris Slevens, an IT guy who has booked over 300 appointments for New Jersey seniors, to learn the best tricks to compete in the vaccine-booking Hunger Games. Photo illustration: Emil Lendof for The Wall Street Journal

Institute President Klaus Cichutek defended the recommendation, saying his experts identified seven cases in Germany of cerebral vein thrombosis, a severe brain condition, and three of the people died. Germany’s healthcare ministry said that, based on the number of vaccinations given, it would have expected as many as 1.4 cases of cerebral vein thrombosis, and the seven cases merited a pause.

The EMA collected reports from across Europe, giving it a much larger data set to analyze.

Some EU countries, including Greece and Belgium, have continued using the vaccine, as have Australia, Canada and India.

The U.K., where AstraZeneca developed the vaccine with scientists from University of Oxford, is relying heavily on the vaccine for its relatively fast vaccination campaign. British politicians have criticized their EU counterparts for suspending the vaccine’s use against expert advice.

The AstraZeneca shot is the world’s most widely used Covid-19 vaccine.

Many medical experts in Europe and beyond criticized politicians’ decisions to halt vaccinations, saying the known risks posed by the coronavirus are greater than possible ones from AstraZeneca shots. German officials said their suspension was merited because they are urging citizens to take the vaccine, unlike other medications such as contraceptives, which are a personal choice.

European officials who paused vaccinations framed their decisions as precautionary. But based on available data and Covid-19 risks, “The cautionary approach would be to carry on vaccinating,” said Prof. David Spiegelhalter, an expert on statistics and risk at the University of Cambridge. “Casting doubt—lasting doubt—on the safety of the vaccines is not a precautionary position.”

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Write to Daniel Michaels at daniel.michaels@wsj.com

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President John Magufuli of Tanzania Dies at 61

NAIROBI, Kenya — President John Magufuli of Tanzania, a populist leader who played down the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic and steered his country away from democratic ideals, died on Wednesday at a hospital in the port city of Dar es Salaam. He was 61.

His death was announced on television by Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who said Mr. Magufuli had died of heart complications while being treated at Mzena Hospital. The announcement followed more than a week of intense speculation that Mr. Magufuli was critically ill with Covid-19 — reports that senior government officials had repeatedly denied.

Ms. Hassan did not specify the nature of Mr. Magufuli’s underlying illness in her brief televised remarks, but said that he had suffered from chronic atrial fibrillation for more than a decade. She said that flags will fly at half-staff nationwide and that funeral arrangements were underway.

Mr. Magufuli, a trained chemist, was first elected in October 2015 on an anticorruption platform. He was initially lauded for his efforts to bolster the economy, stem wasteful spending and upgrade Tanzania’s infrastructure.

marked a sharp departure from his two immediate predecessors who had promoted the East African nation as a peaceful, business-friendly democracy.

During his first term, Mr. Magufuli’s government banned opposition rallies, revoked the licenses of nongovernmental organizations and introduced laws that critics said repressed independent reporting. He also said that pregnant girls should not be allowed in school.

refused to let opposition representatives into polling stations.

On voting day, at least 10 people were killed when violence broke out in the semiautonomous archipelago of Zanzibar after citizens said they had seen soldiers delivering marked ballots.

Mr. Magufuli won that election with 84 percent of the vote amid accusations of widespread fraud and irregularities. Tundu Lissu, the main opposition candidate running against him, was accused of trying to overthrow the government and had to leave the country. He remains in exile in Belgium.

Over the past year, Mr. Magufuli came under intense criticism at home and abroad for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. He railed against masks and social distancing, promoted unproven remedies as cures and said that God had helped the country eliminate the virus.

Tanzania has not shared data on the coronavirus with the World Health Organization since April, and it has reported just 509 cases and 21 deaths, figures that have been widely viewed with skepticism.

As vaccine rollouts began worldwide, Mr. Magufuli discouraged the Health Ministry from securing doses for Tanzania.

in a speech to an unmasked crowd in late January. “If the white man was able to come up with vaccinations, then vaccines for AIDS would have been brought. Vaccines for tuberculosis would have made it a thing of the past. Vaccines for malaria would have been found. Vaccines for cancer would have been found.”

writing on Twitter, “Science shows that #VaccinesWork.”

In February, the United States Embassy in Tanzania cautioned against “a significant increase in the number of Covid-19 cases” and warned that “limited hospital capacity throughout Tanzania could result in life-threatening delays for emergency medical care.”

Mr. Magufuli’s death came just days after speculations that he was sick with the virus. The rumors started swirling after Mr. Lissu, the opposition figure in exile, said that the president had Covid-19 and was being treated in a hospital in neighboring Kenya.

Mr. Lissu urged the authorities to disclose the whereabouts of the president, who had not been seen in public for almost two weeks. Mr. Magufuli did not attend a virtual summit for leaders of the East African regional bloc on Feb. 27.

Tanzanian officials dismissed the rumors and said that Mr. Magufuli was working as usual.

John Pombe Joseph Magufuli was born on Oct. 29, 1959, in the district of Chato in northwestern Tanzania. He earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Dar es Salaam, according to the presidential office’s website. In 2009, he obtained a doctorate in chemistry from the same university, according to the website.

Before becoming president, he was a member of Tanzania’s Parliament and held a number of cabinet posts. He first developed a reputation for fighting corruption when working in cabinet positions including as the minister of lands, fisheries and public works.

Mr. Magufuli is survived by his wife, Janet, a primary schoolteacher; and two children.

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E.U. Proposes Covid-19 Certificate for Travelers

BRUSSELS — Pressed by member states desperate to save the summer tourist season, the European Union on Wednesday proposed a Covid-19 certificate that would allow people to travel more freely.

The proposed document, known as a Digital Green Certificate, would allow European residents and their family members to travel at will across the bloc, so long as they have proof of Covid-19 vaccination, a negative test result or a documented recovery from the virus.

The certificates would be free and available in digital or paper format.

“The Digital Green Certificate will not be a precondition to free movement, and it will not discriminate in any way,” Didier Reynders, the bloc’s top official for justice, said, adding that the aim was to “gradually restore free movement within the E.U. and avoid fragmentation.”

Freedom of movement is the cornerstone of the bloc, but travel restrictions are traditionally under the purview of national governments. The commission’s plan is yet another bid to coordinate what is now a chaotic patchwork of disparate national measures, significantly hindering travel within the previously borderless zone.

the largest European countries suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine over reports of a few cases of serious blood clots among people who received it. The suspension could be lifted soon, but severe production problems have made millions fewer AstraZeneca doses available.

The problems have been an embarrassment for the European Union and its executive arm, the Commission, which took control of the procurement process, although member states are responsible for issuing vaccinations.

But Europeans, held under one of the longest and strictest lockdowns in the world, are experiencing a deep pandemic fatigue, further complicating the way out of the crisis.

The commission also laid out a long-term strategy to gradually lift the lockdown measures, conditional upon each country’s epidemiological situation. A judgment would be made based on simulations by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, the commission said.

“The situation with the virus in Europe is still very challenging,” said Stella Kyriakides, the bloc’s top health official. “It is only through a joint approach that we can return safely to full free movement in the E.U.”

The proposal does not change Europe’s current rules on external travel. The bloc has restricted nonessential travel from countries outside the bloc, with a small number of exceptions, based on infection rates. Travelers who are not E.U. residents could receive a Covid-19 certificate, but only if their visit to Europe falls under one of those exceptions.

In the meantime, some member nations are striking out on their own, eager to reopen to non-European tourists. Greece has already signed an agreement with Israel and is working on similar deals with 10 more countries, including Britain, Canada and the United States.

The Commission’s plan would need to be approved by the European Parliament and a majority of member states. The aim is to make the certificates operational by mid-June, in order to salvage the summer season.

The initial push for some form of a vaccination certificate has come from by countries heavily dependent on tourism, led by Greece, while others, including France and Germany, have been wary of the potential for discrimination between vaccinated and non-vaccinated Europeans, as well as privacy issues.

National governments have also been split over which vaccines should be included in the pass. Hungary is inoculating its citizens with the Russian Sputnik vaccine and the shot made by Sinopharm, a Chinese state-owned company, even though neither has been approved by the European Medicines Agency, and other nations are looking to do the same.

In a spirit of compromise, the commission proposed that all shots approved by the E.U. regulator should be included in the pass, but gave member states discretionary powers to recognize vaccines that have not yet been authorized in Europe.

Many countries reintroduced border controls and began requiring quarantine for arriving travelers in recent months, as more contagious virus variants began spreading rapidly, a gloomy replication of the pandemic’s first wave. Some countries, like Belgium, which shares borders with four other E.U. nations, completely banned nonessential travel.

Any discussions of the Covid-19 certificate are likely to focus on data protection and privacy rights, said Juan Fernando López Aguilar, a European socialist lawmaker from Spain. “We need to make sure that every step we make is made compatible with the fundamental rights of the citizen,” he said.

Guntram Wolff, the director of Bruegel, a research group focused on economic policy in Europe, said that verifying vaccination and testing was “absolutely essential” for reopening the tourism sector.

“Once a person is vaccinated and the evidence shows that he or she cannot transmit the virus anymore, how can you justify restricting his or her basic freedoms?” he asked.

“The E.U. has been slow, since countries disagree on what travel should be allowed,” he said. “They even disagree on which vaccines are safe.”

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Europe’s Plan to Save Summer: A Covid-19 Travel Certificate

BRUSSELS — Pressed by member states desperate to save the summer tourist season, the European Union on Wednesday proposed a Covid-19 certificate that would allow people to travel more freely.

The proposed document, known as a Digital Green Certificate, would allow European residents and their family members to travel at will across the bloc, so long as they have proof of Covid-19 vaccination, a negative test result or a documented recovery from the virus.

The certificates would be free and available in digital or paper format.

“The Digital Green Certificate will not be a precondition to free movement, and it will not discriminate in any way,” Didier Reynders, the bloc’s top official for justice, said, adding that the aim was to “gradually restore free movement within the E.U. and avoid fragmentation.”

Freedom of movement is the cornerstone of the bloc, but travel restrictions are traditionally under the purview of national governments. The commission’s plan is yet another bid to coordinate what is now a chaotic patchwork of disparate national measures, significantly hindering travel within the previously borderless zone.

the largest European countries suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine over reports of a few cases of serious blood clots among people who received it. The suspension could be lifted soon, but severe production problems have made millions fewer AstraZeneca doses available.

The problems have been an embarrassment for the European Union and its executive arm, the Commission, which took control of the procurement process, although member states are responsible for issuing vaccinations.

But Europeans, held under one of the longest and strictest lockdowns in the world, are experiencing a deep pandemic fatigue, further complicating the way out of the crisis.

The commission also laid out a long-term strategy to gradually lift the lockdown measures, conditional upon each country’s epidemiological situation. A judgment would be made based on simulations by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, the commission said.

“The situation with the virus in Europe is still very challenging,” said Stella Kyriakides, the bloc’s top health official. “It is only through a joint approach that we can return safely to full free movement in the E.U.”

The proposal does not change Europe’s current rules on external travel. The bloc has restricted nonessential travel from countries outside the bloc, with a small number of exceptions, based on infection rates. Travelers who are not E.U. residents could receive a Covid-19 certificate, but only if their visit to Europe falls under one of those exceptions.

In the meantime, some member nations are striking out on their own, eager to reopen to non-European tourists. Greece has already signed an agreement with Israel and is working on similar deals with 10 more countries, including Britain, Canada and the United States.

The Commission’s plan would need to be approved by the European Parliament and a majority of member states. The aim is to make the certificates operational by mid-June, in order to salvage the summer season.

The initial push for some form of a vaccination certificate has come from by countries heavily dependent on tourism, led by Greece, while others, including France and Germany, have been wary of the potential for discrimination between vaccinated and non-vaccinated Europeans, as well as privacy issues.

National governments have also been split over which vaccines should be included in the pass. Hungary is inoculating its citizens with the Russian Sputnik vaccine and the shot made by Sinopharm, a Chinese state-owned company, even though neither has been approved by the European Medicines Agency, and other nations are looking to do the same.

In a spirit of compromise, the commission proposed that all shots approved by the E.U. regulator should be included in the pass, but gave member states discretionary powers to recognize vaccines that have not yet been authorized in Europe.

Many countries reintroduced border controls and began requiring quarantine for arriving travelers in recent months, as more contagious virus variants began spreading rapidly, a gloomy replication of the pandemic’s first wave. Some countries, like Belgium, which shares borders with four other E.U. nations, completely banned nonessential travel.

Any discussions of the Covid-19 certificate are likely to focus on data protection and privacy rights, said Juan Fernando López Aguilar, a European socialist lawmaker from Spain. “We need to make sure that every step we make is made compatible with the fundamental rights of the citizen,” he said.

Guntram Wolff, the director of Bruegel, a research group focused on economic policy in Europe, said that verifying vaccination and testing was “absolutely essential” for reopening the tourism sector.

“Once a person is vaccinated and the evidence shows that he or she cannot transmit the virus anymore, how can you justify restricting his or her basic freedoms?” he asked.

“The E.U. has been slow, since countries disagree on what travel should be allowed,” he said. “They even disagree on which vaccines are safe.”

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How to Clean Up Steel? Bacteria, Hydrogen and a Lot of Cash.

Few materials are more essential than steel, yet steel mills are among the leading polluters. They burn coke, a derivative of coal, and belch millions of tons of greenhouse gases. Roughly two tons of carbon dioxide rises into the atmosphere for every ton of steel made using blast furnaces.

With climate concerns growing, a crunch appears inevitable for these companies. Carbon taxes are rising, and investors are wary of putting their money into businesses that could be regulated out of existence.

None of this has been lost on the giant steel maker ArcelorMittal.

For half a century, Lakshmi Mittal devoted himself to building and running what became the world’s largest empire of huge steel mills, employing nearly 170,000 people.

Now his son, Aditya Mittal, 44, who recently succeeded his father as chief executive, says the industry that has made the family’s name and fortune needs to change its polluting ways.

Europe’s carbon trading program and other measures will rise rapidly in the coming years, cutting into steel makers’ already slim profits.

“Everyone expects the regulations to be imposed to be very strict,” said Akio Ito, a senior partner at the consultants Roland Berger in Munich.

Mr. Ito said that in a few years, the carbon tariff might increase to as much as €150 per ton of steel, around 20 percent of the current price of a ton of the metal. If so, it could become too costly to make steel in Europe, he said.

In 2019, ArcelorMittal’s global operations made 90 million metric tons of steel, about 5 percent of the world total, while producing 185 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

Mr. Mittal is moving cautiously, trying several approaches. The company’s flagship mill near Ghent in Belgium is central to this effort. In one of several experiments, workers are erecting large tanks where bacteria will feast on carbon dioxide from plant exhaust and turn it into ethanol, which can then be used in making chemicals. At another plant, in Hamburg, Germany, the staff has run laboratory tests using hydrogen, which is gaining favor as a clean fuel in place of coke. Mr. Mittal is also contemplating hooking up the company’s electric furnaces, which are cleaner than blast furnaces, to a source of renewable power to produce steel branded as low-carbon.

Executives indicate that using hydrogen may eventually be the best solution but is many years away. Hydrogen made without causing emissions is expensive and limited.

“Today, this is impossible, because there is no hydrogen,” said Geert Van Poelvoorde, chief executive of ArcelorMittal Europe.

ArcelorMittal says up to €40 billion of investment will be needed over the next three decades to remove the emissions from steel making in Europe alone, depending on the methods. The cost of producing steel will also rise sharply.

At least one European steel company, SSAB of Sweden, may be making progress. With government backing, the company plans to eliminate fossil fuels by using hydrogen made from electricity generated by water power. If all goes well, a large-scale plant could begin operating in around five years.

“In the beginning, it might cost some more, said Martin Pei, the company’s chief technology officer. He added that the company would gain a new product that it could sell for a premium.

ArcelorMittal is a giant in the industry, but even it cannot afford to throw money around. For 2020, when economies were shut down because of the pandemic, the company reported a $733 million net loss. It has been concerned about debt, and last year sold much of its business in the United States.

How to pay for reducing emissions is the subject of complex negotiations between the industry and governments, including the European Union. Governments may want to clean up steel, but they also will be wary of jeopardizing an industry that employs about 330,000 people in the region. In addition, if European steel moves elsewhere, the likely result would be higher emissions.

ArcelorMittal and other companies are applying for funding from European programs for their efforts to reduce carbon. The steel industry is also pressing for what it calls border adjustments, which would levy tariffs on steel imports from countries with fewer environmental regulations — an approach that risks trade friction and could leave European steel less competitive in export markets.

Without financial support from governments, Mr. Mittal said, “the incentive to produce steel in Europe would not exist.”

By 2030, Mr. Mittal wants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in Europe by 30 percent compared with 2018; he hopes the whole company will be carbon-neutral by 2050. In the meantime, the company is trying to cater to growing customer demand for low-carbon steel by making modest investments, like using natural gas in place of coke at a plant and then selling an amount of steel equivalent to the carbon saved as “green steel.”

An early customer for this niche product, which differs from ordinary steel only in labeling, is Jean-Christophe Vigouroux, chief executive of Ateliers 3S, a supplier of custom roof material and facades in Clermont-Ferrand, France. In an interview, Mr. Vigouroux said he had ordered 1,000 tons of green steel at a roughly 10 percent premium over the market price.

“Clients increasingly appreciate the eco-design aspects of our products,” Mr. Vigouroux said.

Mr. van Poelvoorde said that being able to sell the material at a premium was a pleasant surprise that would help finance lower emissions. More important, he said, offering a product labeled green shows customers and the authorities, who are considering funding these efforts, “we are very serious, that it is not only talking.”

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BioNTech Recruits Rivals to Boost Covid-19 Vaccine Production

The maker of the West’s first Covid-19 vaccine is building a new manufacturing alliance that could throw Europe and the rest of the world a lifeline amid a painful shortage of shots and a rebound in infections.

BioNTech SE, a German company that joined with Pfizer Inc. to manufacture and distribute its vaccine, has marshaled an alliance of 13 companies, including Novartis AG , Merck KGaA and Sanofi SA, in an effort to meet—and perhaps exceed—an ambitious target of making two billion doses of vaccine this year.

The European Union has been struggling with a shortage of vaccines as manufacturers, including British-Swedish pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca PLC, have fallen behind on their delivery pledges to the bloc.

The shortage has largely been limited to the EU, which was slower than its Western allies in ordering and approving the vaccines, and it has raised tensions between the bloc and the U.K. and the U.S.

This could pose a challenge to BioNTech’s alliance. Its vaccine uses sophisticated new techniques that require scarce ingredients and expertise. This makes for a delicate supply chain that is vulnerable to the type of export controls the EU, the U.K. and the U.S. have imposed in recent months, company officials have warned.

As highly transmissible coronavirus variants sweep across the world, scientists are racing to understand why these new versions of the virus are spreading faster, and what this could mean for vaccine efforts. New research says the key may be the spike protein, which gives the coronavirus its unmistakable shape. Illustration: Nick Collingwood/WSJ

Pfizer and BioNTech developed the first Covid-19 vaccine authorized in the West in record time, but its complex manufacturing has left the U.S. giant struggling to meet production targets.

BioNTech’s response: An alliance designed to jolt production of the vaccine and speed up vaccinations in Europe and elsewhere. The negotiations for the new manufacturing alliance were coordinated with Pfizer, according to a BioNTech spokeswoman.

The cancer-research firm, based in the small German town of Mainz, came up with the vaccine based on the innovative messenger RNA technology in February 2020, and then teamed up with Pfizer to test, produce and market it around the globe.

The vaccine was authorized in Europe and the U.S. in December after trials showed it was highly effective at preventing infections in adults. On Thursday, a real-life study by Israel showed that the shot was also 94% successful in stopping asymptomatic transmission.

Yet despite their successes, Pfizer and BioNTech have struggled to make enough of the vaccine to satisfy demand, causing growing frustration around the world at the pace of delivery—a bottleneck BioNTech’s new manufacturing alliance now aims to alleviate.

After months of negotiations, the company has now assembled a web of companies, most of them in Europe and some key rivals to Pfizer. BioNTech said it was confident the alliance would allow it and Pfizer to meet their goal of producing two billion doses in 2021.

Workers handled the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine at a Pfizer factory in Puurs, Belgium, last month.

Photo: kenzo tribouillard/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Under their original agreement, BioNTech, which owns the marketing rights for the vaccine, supplies Germany, China and Turkey, while Pfizer covers the rest of the world. So far, BioNTech and Pfizer have sold 500 million doses to the EU, 300 million to the U.S., 120 million to Japan, 110 million to China and its territories, 40 million to the U.K. and 20 million to Canada.

Millions of doses have also been sold in undisclosed contracts with Middle Eastern and other countries, and 40 million have been sold to Covax, an international initiative to provide vaccines to developing countries. Demand is set to keep growing.

Pfizer, a company going back nearly two centuries that employs around 100,000 people, currently makes 50% of the active ingredient for all doses, a spokeswoman said, with the other half produced by medium-size BioNTech. A BioNTech spokeswoman said the company was in fact producing 60% of the output.

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BioNTech’s co-founder and chief executive, Ugur Sahin, told The Wall Street Journal he realized last fall that his partnership with Pfizer wouldn’t marshal enough capacity to meet global demand.

Pfizer, which had no mRNA production capacity before its deal with BioNTech, took longer than expected to set up plants at its sites in Kalamazoo, Mich., and Puurs, Belgium, according to the companies.

A Pfizer spokeswoman blamed the delays on the need to put together a supply chain for raw materials, adding that the company had since scaled up production at an unprecedented pace.

In October, Dr. Sahin and other BioNTech executives opened negotiations with other companies, weeks before Pfizer and BioNTech released the final data from their final-stage trials showing that the vaccine was more than 90% effective in preventing infections.

Days later, the companies quietly notified authorities in the U.S. and elsewhere that they would slash the delivery target for 2020 from 100 million to just 50 million. For the U.S., this meant that Pfizer would deliver only 20 million instead of 40 million doses by December.

The Kalamazoo factory was meant to supply the U.S. while the Puurs site would cater to the rest of the world. Still, some of the initial 20 million doses that the company supplied to the U.S. came from Europe, according to the companies.

In January, Pfizer launched a major upgrade of its Puurs facility. The upgrade paused production for two weeks, worsening Europe’s vaccine shortage and prompting some governments to threaten Pfizer with legal action.

A European Union official and a Pfizer executive at the Pfizer factory in Puurs, Belgium, last month.

Photo: kenzo tribouillard/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Sierk Poetting, BioNTech’s chief operating officer, said the experience had demonstrated to BioNTech the urgency of launching a new manufacturing alliance, in order to live up to commitments in Europe and other markets.

BioNTech is increasing its own production. Its German factory, expected to come on line in April, should produce 750 million doses a year. The facility will mainly supply the EU, but its output won’t be enough, so BioNTech had to enlist new partners across the supply chain, said Mr. Poetting.

The BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine uses mRNA packaged in a microscopic ball of fat to elicit an immune response. Such vaccines can be produced faster than conventional shots, but the process is sophisticated, with new partners now involved at each step of the process.

The mRNA is first produced, then purified, concentrated and filtered. BioNTech has brought in German company Rentschler Biopharma SE to help with these steps. Swiss company Novartis is also negotiating a contract to produce DNA molecules used in the first step.

In the next step, the mRNA is encased in its fatty envelope. The lipids are supplied by the German firms Merck and Evonik Industries AG , while Austria’s Polymun Scientific Immunbiologische Forschung GmbH, Canada’s Acuitas Therapeutics Inc., and Germany’s Dermapharm Holding SE are helping with the formulation.

During the final step, the solution is filtered again and filled into vials, a process known as finish and fill. This will be done by Delpharm SAS, a French company; Siegfried AG ; Baxter Oncology GmbH from Germany; Novartis, Dermapharm and Sanofi.

BioNTech’s European alliance will produce about half of the global active ingredient supply for the Covid-19 vaccine, and it will cover around 20% of the finish and fill for each dose, Mr. Poetting said.

While BioNTech is confident the alliance will allow it to meet demand, the number of partners, the complexity of the process, and the raw materials required—from DNA to enzymes, salts, sugars and various lipids—make the supply chain delicate, with many opportunities for bottlenecks.

Right now, the scarcest ingredients are the lipids used to deliver the vaccine’s RNA. These are produced by a handful of companies and the shortage is compounded by the fact that vaccine-makers use a similar technology and rely on the same suppliers.

“This is the ultimate bottleneck at the moment…the lipids are the hand-to-mouth issue,” Mr. Poetting said.

Covid-19 Vaccines

Write to Bojan Pancevski at bojan.pancevski@wsj.com

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