UK-EU vaccine Supplies Row Shows No Sign of Easing

Britain urges EU to meet commitments on Covid vaccine supplies
Britain urges EU to meet commitments on Covid vaccine supplies

A senior UK government minister has warned the EU after the president of the European Commission threatened to block vaccine exports, saying “the world is watching”.

Defence Minister Ben Wallace said it would be “counterproductive” to block AstraZeneca’s exports, the day after Ursula von der Leyen said a ban was possible. The Commission — which has responded by calling for calm — accuses the company of failing to meet agreed delivery targets.

Boris Johnson is preparing to call EU leaders demanding they shun ‘vaccine nationalism’ .The PM will urge the bloc to respect legal contracts for supplies.

Now, it has emerged that a potential EU blockade could delay the UK’s vaccine rollout by up to two months. Reports also say the EU will stop a Dutch factory from exporting ingredients to the UK – despite its contract.

AstraZeneca source accused Europe of failing to ‘get its act together’ on the jab, adding that the bloc is sitting on up to 12 million unused vaccines.

Meanwhile inoculations continue apace in the UK, which says it has vaccinated half the adult population. Boris Johnson has tweeted new figures showing a new daily record of 873,784 jabs on Saturday.

Overnight, data from a US-led trial showed the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was 79% effective at preventing Covid-19 and offers 100% protection against severe disease. The trial involved 32,449 people across all age groups in the US, Chile and Peru.