UK may stop shipping vaccines to the EU warns expert
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Ursula von der Leyen this week sparked fears of an all-out vaccine war when she threatened to halt the flow of Pfizer shots destined for the UK. Mr Tice, leader of the Reform Party, said the Europeans have “lost their heads” while trying to navigate the road through the Covid pandemic and vaccinate their populations.
He said in light of Brussels’ threat, the Government must step up in the race to inoculate citizens and wake up to the fact that it cannot rely on foreign nations to make much-needed vaccines.
He tweeted: “VACCINE RESILIENCE: Given US component ban and EU export ban threat, clear must build 100 percent domestic capability for vaccine production.
“UK has retained moral high ground whilst all around lost their heads.”
His warning came as Europe on Friday became the first region in the world to surpass one million Covid-related deaths.
The grim milestone came just two days after Ms von der Leyen warned Europe was on the crest of a dreaded third wave of coronavirus.
She threatened to take drastic action to ensure the club of nations got its fair share of vaccines.
The Commission boss said she would be prepared to trigger the seldom-used Article 122 unless British-made vaccines ordered by the bloc materialised.
The EU legislation allows the introduction of emergency measures when “severe difficulties arise in the supply of certain products”.
It would see the EU requisition factories making coronavirus vaccines.
James Forsyth, political editor of The Spectator, said: “The lesson the British Government is taking from this situation is the importance of domestic production.”
As Europe battles with low supplies of jabs and millions of people in France head into another lockdown, many Britons are hopeful of a semi-return to normal this summer.
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Boris Johnson has said the lifting of restrictions depends heavily on the rollout of the vaccination programme.
As of Thursday a total of 26.2 million people in the UK had received the first dose of the vaccine.
The Prime Minister has said people should be able to go on self-catering holidays from April 12.
Despite setbacks in vaccine production, he insisted the “roadmap” out of the third national lockdown in England is still on track.
Speaking on Thursday, Mr Johnson said: “We remain on track to return to the things we love.”
Over the coming weeks the UK will be hit by a reduction in the number of AstraZeneca vaccines arriving from India.
This is partly because New Delhi suspended exports of millions of doses.
Five million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII), have been delayed by almost a month.
Another factor causing delays to the UK’s vaccine programme is a series of production problems with a large batch.
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