Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Ms McGuinness attempted to highlight how the EU is supporting the vaccine rollout throughout the world. But BBC host Mr Marr reacted by stating millions of the AstraZeneca vaccine are still sitting unused in European storage, adding Europe should just use those doses and stating Oxford scientist Sir John Bell branded the EU’s policy “crackers”. Ms McGuinness replied: “I’ve read those comments and frankly none of us has had a great Covid.
“I think all of us should put our hands up and say we were not prepared for this pandemic.
“We did not do our best at the beginning but we are doing our best now to protect our citizens.
“I think that’s exactly where Europe is focused right now, and once everyone is protected we are safe.”
She continued: “I think that we all need to calm down, look ‘dispassionately’ at the situation if you like around the raw materials surrounding the vaccines and where they are produced.
“And think how might we ramp up that production.
“But more importantly, I think a lot of experts are saying that we need to be prepared for other variants because we know that the UK variant has spread widely and it harder to treat.”
But her comments have sparked a furious reaction from Britons, as tensions between the UK and EU once again threaten to boil over.
In response to the initial story from Express.co.uk, one reader raged: “About time this country boycotted anything that comes out of the EU.
READ MORE: EU infighting erupts: Germany turns on France over vaccines
“An utter disgrace! Thank God we are out!”
France has warned of yet another national lockdown with hospitals overwhelmed with Covid patients who have had to be airlifted and transferred to more rural medical facilities.
Worrying new coronavirus variants are spreading through the country, with local leaders piling pressure on President Emmanuel Macron to implemented new lockdown measures.
Ms McGuinness said on the Andrew Marr Show: “The UK variant causes more rapid transmission and we have to be prepared for any fork that may happen or if another variant arises which might be more difficult [to cure].
“So this conversation and opinion, we need to let wiser counsel prevail here but it is interesting how when facts are put on the table – different opinions form.
“Everyone is entitled to their opinion and we have put our facts on the table.”
The UK has hit back at the EU’s threat to ban vaccine exports, warning Brussels it needs to “stand by its commitments”
On Wednesday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen threatened to block the export of coronavirus vaccines to the UK, criticising AstraZeneca for having “underproduced and underdelivered” to the bloc.
She warned the European Union will consider stopping vaccine exports to countries with higher coverage rates than its own and said she is “ready to use whatever tool we need” to ensure the reliable delivery of vaccines.
EU member states also paused administering the AstraZeneca vaccine amid fears it caused blood clots among citizens who received the jab.
But the World Health Organisation and the European Medicines Agency urged these countries to re-start the rollout of the jab, with the latter concluding the jab was “safe and effective” to use.