EU can't stop us! UK to hit Covid vaccine target despite Brussels' games

Nick Ferrari slams idea of vaccine passports in pubs

In England, the vaccination programme powered ahead with nearly nine in ten over-50s now jabbed. Boris Johnson said: “We will bash on with our programme but of course we are going to keep working with our EU partners and our friends.” The Prime Minister said he was “on the side of openness” in the trade of vaccines. He added: “I don’t want to see blockades of vaccines or of medicines, I don’t think that’s the way forward either for us or for any of our friends.”

Bitter internal divisions over the EU’s low vaccination rate boiled over yesterday when Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz claimed his country had not been given its fair share of the bloc’s supplies and warned there will be “damage to the EU like we haven’t seen in a long time” if the issue continues.

He lashed out as leaders prepared to meet online to discuss export bans that would hit UK supplies.

But threats have been widely condemned, with even ex-top eurocrat Jean-Claude Juncker warning Brussels to step back from waging a “stupid vaccine war” with Britain.

The UK and EU agreed on Wednesday to work together to find a solution and European insiders said Commission boss Ursula von der Leyen’s blockade plan was dead on arrival.

Senior UK government sources said Britain’s jab programme will not be thrown off course by the EU if it turns protectionist.


Britain is ‘on track to offer all age groups a jab by July’ (Image: Getty)

The source said it was important for the UK “to show and be in favour of a global approach on the vaccines”.

“We are still absolutely confident we will hit our targets of April 15 and the end of July,” they said.

“We are continuing to push ahead without vaccine roll out.”

NHS chiefs also expect the vaccine deadline to be met, with a report yesterday stating: “In spite of changes to the supply schedule, the NHS currently remains on track to offer a first dose to everyone in cohorts 1-9 by 15 April and to all adults by the end of July, as planned.”

Latest figures show 87 percent of over-50s in England had received their first dose by March 21.

The south west had the highest rate at 90.5 percent while London was the lowest at 78.8 percent.


The UK should show it’s i favour of a global approach to the vaccine programme (Image: PA)

Some 93.7 percent of older care home residents in England have also received their first jab.

NHS England estimated that one in five people aged 16 to 49 are likely to have had a jab.

A quarter of people in England aged 80 and over are likely to have had both doses, meaning they are fully vaccinated against coronavirus.

Nearly all frontline NHS staff, an estimated 98.3 percent, are believed to have been given at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by March 21.

But just 67 percent of social care staff have been inoculated after high levels of vaccine hesitancy in the industry.

New expert analysis yesterday showed the impact the vaccination programme had in its first few months.

The first jab was given in December and four million were administered by the end of January, saving around 6,100 lives.

Public Health England (PHE) came to the figure after looking at the number of deaths that would have been expected during that time and allowed another 31 days for the effect of vaccination on deaths to be observed.

But the figure is expected to be an underestimate and the “true value” of the vaccines will become apparent in the future.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Vaccines save lives. This work shows vaccines have already saved over six thousand lives among the most vulnerable in our society. 

“These results give us hope and remind us about the importance of getting the jab as soon as we are eligible.

“Millions of people will soon be getting their second doses – giving them the strongest possible protection against covid 19. I urge everyone to come forward for the vaccine when it’s your turn, to protect yourself and your loved ones.”

The study said around 5,900 deaths had been averted among those aged 80 and over and 200 in those aged 70 to 79.

matt hancock

Matt Hancock says the vaccine has saved over six thousand lives so far (Image: Getty)

Dr Mary Ramsay, PHE Head of Immunisation, said: “We have shown previously that the covid 19 vaccinations are hugely effective at stopping people from getting the infection. This new analysis calculates how many lives they have saved in the first few months of the vaccine programme, and with every additional day more lives have and will be saved. The vaccines have an excellent safety record and I would encourage anyone who is offered a vaccine to take it as soon as possible. 

“While the vaccines have a striking impact on mortality, we don’t yet know how much these vaccines will reduce the risk of you passing covid 19 onto others. Even if you have been vaccinated, it is really important that you continue to act like you have the virus, practise good hand hygiene and stay at home.”

In a further sign the jab programme is bringing covid under control, NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said the health service’s coronavirus alert level should be reduced from four to three due to “reduced acute pressures”.

Mr Stevens said: “We had over 34,000 severely ill coronavirus patients in our hospitals in mid-January.

“That number is now 4,000 and although that is still about 400 more Covid patients than we had this same day a year ago, nevertheless that very sharp decrease in the number of patients with Covid in hospital is a consequence of both declining infection rates across the community and the impact that’s now being felt from the vaccination programme.”

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