Vaccine: Iain Dale says EU ‘blame the Brits’
The BBC’s Europe Editor made the claims in a blog explaining the EU’s vaccine fiasco, as the bloc grapples a supply shortage and painfully slow rollout of the jab. Ms Adler rebuffed the EU claim that vaccine maker AstraZeneca is favouring UK vaccine supplies despite Brussels investing millions to help the firm develop the jab.
Last week AstraZeneca, the British-Swedish firm, announced it would be unable to fulfil demand to the EU for several weeks due to unexplained “reduced yields” in its European supply chain.
Brussels has reacted furiously to the news and has demanded the firm adhere to its contractual agreements.
They have made several bold claims and demands, and have even threatened to ban vaccine exports.
But Ms Adler has pointed out some of the claims made by the bloc are simply not true.
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She said the claim by Brussels it had invested €300million (£265million) to help AstraZeneca develop the vaccine and to produce the jab in mass quantities has been grossly exaggerated.
The journalist said: “In reality, Brussels has yet to hand over a substantial lump of the promised amount.”
Ms Adler went on to claim other “EU accusations just don’t add up”.
For example, she pointed out the EU signed a contract with AstraZeneca three months after the UK did, which allowed less time for logistical issues to be ironed out.
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She said: “Take the complaint that the bloc is being treated as ‘second class’ by AstraZeneca.
“The fact is, when it comes to honouring its contract with the UK, for example, the EU signed its AstraZeneca vaccine contract three months later than Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Government.
“AstraZeneca has also claimed that it has a ‘best effort’ agreement with the EU, rather than a 100 percent commitment that the desired amount of vaccines would be delivered by the end of March.”
The EU is desperate to ramp up its vaccine rollout, as the bloc is falling further and further behind on its target to inoculate 70 percent of all European adults by the summer.
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If the current rate of vaccination persists, the EU would only have vaccinated 15 percent of the bloc’s population by the end of September.
The European Commission is getting criticism from all sides for the slow rollout, with European media outlets firmly landing the blame at Brussels’ door.
German newspaper Die Zeit led on the charge earlier this week when it claimed the EU’s vaccine bungle was “the best advert for Brexit”.
It accused the bloc of “acting slowly, bureaucratically and being protectionist”.
Similarly, an online article from Belgium’s RTBF described the vaccine chaos as politically humiliating for the EU, especially after Brexit.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is expected to approve the AstraZeneca vaccine for use later today.
The announcement will come almost a month after the UK regulators approved the jab for use.
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