Vaccine: Commentator says UK must not ‘give away’ supply
Brussels has stepped up its battle to secure Covid vaccines for hundreds of millions of people by warning drug companies such as AstraZeneca it will not shy away from using all legal means available or even block exports unless they agree to deliver the promised doses. Vaccination centres in Germany, France and Spain have postponed or even cancelled Covid vaccine jab appointments, while Brussels has also publicly lashed out at vaccine manufacturer AstraZeneca for failing to deliver its agreed allocation.
The company was supposed to be delivering around 80million doses of its vaccine to the EU by the end of this month, but has warned major production issues mean it will miss this target.
But embarrassingly AstraZeneca has announced that Britain, which fully left the EU last month has already vaccinated close to eight million people with a vaccine jab, will be supplied with the ordered amount of doses.
The firm’s boss Pascal Soriot has defended the decision, claiming the UK had contractually ordered the vaccine three months earlier than the EU.
Now Generation Frexit President Charles-Henri Gallois, who is leading a campaign for France to follow the UK out of the EU, has launched a furious attack against Brussels.
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He tweeted: “A free and independent state acts according to its interests and anticipates quickly.
“What happened with the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines will also happen with that of Valneva.
“EU is a burden at all levels!”
Mr Gallois was reacting to a tweet from Boris Johnson following the announcement the UK had secured 60 million doses of the vaccine from Valneva, with an option to acquire a further 130 million if the doses are proven to be safe, effective and suitable.
The UK Government had announced the firm has started commercial manufacturing of its “promising” Covid vaccine in Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland.
The Prime Minister tweeted: “It’s brilliant that @ValnevaSE is starting the large-scale manufacture of its potential vaccine, creating 100 high-skilled jobs at their Livingston facility.
“We’ve secured 60m doses due to be delivered by the end of the year if it is approved for use.”
A Brussels official told Reuters EU rules on monitoring and authorising exports of Covid vaccines in the bloc could see exports blocked if they broke existing contracts between the vaccine maker and Brussels.
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European Council President wrote a letter to four EU leaders on January 27 stating the bloc should explore legal means to ensure supplies of COVID-19 vaccines it contracted to buy if talks with companies over delayed deliveries continue to prove unsuccessful.
He said: “If no satisfactory solution can be found, I believe we should explore all options and make use of all legal means and enforcement measures at our disposal under the Treaties.”
Earlier this month, Mr Gallois had branded the EU “a total disaster” over the strategy it employed when attempting to negotiate a Brexit deal with the EU.
He accused Brussels of acting like a “sect that wants to punish the member that wants to take back his freedom”.
The Generation Frexit President told Express.co.uk: “The EU is a total disaster. I mean the interest of the EU countries from the beginning would have been to have a deal.
“When you have more than £80billion as a trade surplus, you try to find a good solution for both parties.
“But the EU has acted like a sect that wants to punish the member that wants to take back his freedom.
“They did it even if it would cost you this trade surplus. Boris did well and stood firm.
“Some countries such as Germany feared a no-deal so I think that at the end they put pressure on the EU to get a deal. The EU eventually caved in.”
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