Vaccines: Europe is ‘so far behind UK’ says professor
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The Get Britain Out director, writing in her weekly newsletter, pointed to an announcement by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen that the bloc would soon be making sure all vaccines it uses are made 100 percent within the EU. At the moment such an approach is not possible because Pfizer is reliant on a company in Yorkshire, Corda International, to provide several key components for its jab.
Ms Adye said: “This announcement convinces me that this reliance on component parts from the UK is the only reason the EU did not try and cut us off from vaccines made in the EU earlier this year.”
The EU Commission had realised the UK could have responded by cutting off all vaccine production, and had therefore “chickened out”, Ms Adye suggested.
She added: “This drive to make all vaccines inside the EU shows the Commission clearly does not want the UK to hold the balance of power over them in the future, and by ending the ability of the UK to respond, they would be free to try and cut off the UK’s supplies.”
Ms Adye warned: “The Government must not ignore this dangerous threat.
“This is exactly why we at Get Britain Out have consistently been calling for the Government to end our reliance on a wide range of imported products – not just vaccines.
“If we do not ensure a much greater level of self-sufficiency in this country, we run the risk of being vulnerable to hostile actions from the EU – and other trading partners – actions which could have devastating results on our economy and the lives of the Great British Public.”
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The EU’s vaccine rollout continues to lag well behind that of the UK, according to the Our World In Data website.
As of April 15, 23.94 jabs per 100 people had been administered across the EU27, compared with 60.33 in the UK as of April 14.
Tensions between London and Brussels spiked significantly last month when European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen threaten to block exports of AstraZeneca components to the UK until the EU received the doses it had been promised, with the bloc subsequently introducing some restrictions.
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Speaking in March, Mrs von der Leyen told reporters: “Companies have to honour their contract to the European Union before they export to other regions in the world.
“And this is, of course, the case with AstraZeneca.”
In better news for the bloc, Moderna Inc yesterday said shipments to the European Union and Switzerland were on track.
The Swiss company is under pressure to begin operations at three new facilities where it makes active ingredients for its vaccine.
A Moderna spokeswoman in Europe said EU and Swiss deliveries in Q2 were still expected to come in within expected ranges, without giving the ranges.
Moderna this week enlisted Spain’s Rovi, another contract drugmaker that is already bottling Moderna’s vaccine, to build new ingredient production facilities in Granada to lift European output.
Bottling, also called “fill-and-finish”, remains on track at Rovi, as well as a soon-to-be-running French line at Sweden’s Recipharm.
Moderna aims to deliver 700 million to one billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine globally this year, and more than two billion doses next year.
Total deaths from COVID-19 today passed three million worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Centre.
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