Coronavirus vaccine: UK exceeds 25 million first doses given
Amid the escalating row over the AstraZeneca vaccine, Government ministers have now indicated the UK will retaliate with blocks to exports heading to the EU. Warning the EU, the Prime Minister’s spokesman stated today that stopping the coronavirus is an international effort and should not see vaccine exports stopped. The spokesman said today: “I’m, obviously not going to get into hypotheticals but we’ve been clear the vaccination programme is an international effort.
“We expect the EU to continue to stand by its commitments.
“It’s important that the whole world works together, every country needs vaccinations.
“That’s why we’re committed to working with countries and governments across the globe in that regard.”
One minister suggested, the UK would have to retaliate if the EU blocked exports, saying “politically and morally it’s a no brainer”, The Sun reports.
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Speaking on Sunday, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace added: “The European Commission and Britain were not meant to engage in breaking contracts, all of us recognise the importance of international law and upholding contract law.
“The Commission will know the world is watching about how it conducts itself.
“If contracts are broken and are undertaken that is a very damaging thing to happen for a trading bloc which prides itself on the following of contracts and have been an open trading bloc.”
In order to try and ease tensions, the Prime Minister held a call with Angela Merkel to stop any vaccine war today.
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Both Ms Merkel and Emmanuel Macron have been spearheading calls for the EU to increase curbs on vaccines leaving the bloc amid rising case levels in several states.
Amid the failing vaccine plan in the EU, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen claimed measures could be used if the continent does not get its fair share of doses.
Mr Johnson said: “I’m reassured by talking to EU partners over the last few months that they don’t want to see blockades, I think that’s very important.”
Despite EU leaders calling for a block on vaccine exports, Ireland’s Taoiseach Micheal Martin claimed a block on exports would be an unwise move.
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He told RTE: “I’m very much against it.
“I think it would be a very retrograde step.
“I’ve met all of the companies and it’s absolutely vital that we keep supply chains.
“If you take the Pfizer vaccine, 280 materials are going to making the Pfizer vaccine, 86 suppliers supply those materials from 19 countries around the world.
“You start putting up barriers, other countries may follow suit in terms of some of those vital raw materials that are required.
“If we start that we are in trouble.”
Ms von der Leyen claimed 41 million vaccine doses have left the block to 33 countries with approximately 10 million going to the UK.
In contrast, Ms von der Leyen claimed the UK has withheld supplies while EU Parliament President Charles Michel had also accused Britain of vaccine nationalism.
EU news: Many EU states have struggled to kickstart their vaccination programmes
Despite the accusations of vaccine nationalism, according to the European Centre Disease Prevention and Control there are almost 13 million doses that have gone unused in the EU.
In contrast, the UK has administered 27,997,976 one dose of covid vaccine as of March 22.
On Thursday, EU leaders will hold a video conference to discuss the EU’s coronavirus strategy and vaccine rollout.