Britain and the EU are in talks to resolve the dispute over vaccine supplies after Mr Johnson warned that a trade war over jabs would result in “considerable” and “long-term” damage. A joint statement said the two sides were seeking a “win-win” deal to increase supplies across both the UK and EU. But a resolution has yet to be found after Brussels earlier set out plans a tougher regime to stem supplies of jabs to nations faring better in the pandemic as EU states face a third wave of cases.
Mr Johnson has been urged to retaliate if the European Commission does put the block on vital deliveries.
An exclusive Express.co.uk poll found a staggering 98 percent (6,629 people) believe Britain should hit back if a vaccine export ban was enforced by Brussels.
Just 2 percent (174 people) said the Government should retaliate against such a move by the EU and 26 people said they didn’t know.
A total of 6,829 readers took part in the online poll which ran from 10am until 10pm on Wednesday March 24 2021.
One reader said: “They are really going too far and they must be brought back into line.
“That would mean extensive punishments and not just suspending sending vaccine components to them but also severe tariffs of at least 200 percent on products that could be regarded as non-essential and a total ban on all fishing in UK waters until such time as they return to legality.
“Yes, embarking on this road is dangerous but there really is no alternative.”
Another said: “I was against retaliation but now they have behaved so badly we MUST hit back.
“This farce has gone on long enough.”
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Another said: “If the EU stops the vaccine then us British should hit the EU hard by not buying their cars etc and put British goods first.”
Another said: “If we give into the EU blackmailers then other countries will think that they could do the same, and that we would not retaliate.
“We should also retaliate on items that they cannot come back and hit us with, and withdraw the licence for Oxford/AstraZeneca to produce in the EU and to dismantle their labs in the EU.”
And another said: “The UK needs to move forward and upwards not be held down by pandering to the EU and their threats.
“If we need to go WTO then so be it. We will pick up, shrug off and move on. Press that reset button.”
Commission executive vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis denied the export authorisation mechanism was targeted at any one country but said 10 million jabs had moved from the EU to the UK since it introduced checks and that “zero doses” had returned from British plants.
But Mr Johnson told MPs: “I don’t think that blockades of either vaccines or of ingredients for vaccines are sensible, and I think that the long-term damage done by blockades can be very considerable.
“I would just gently point out to anybody considering a blockade or an interruption of supply chains that companies may look at such actions and draw conclusions about whether or not it is sensible to make future investments in countries where arbitrary blockades are imposed.”