EU suffers fresh vaccine turmoil as French producer snubs VDL – jabs to be made in UK

AstraZeneca: Tony Blair discusses vaccine hesitancy

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Valneva, which has a deal with Britain to make its shot in Scotland, slammed needless EU bureaucracy before breaking off negotiations. The firm’s announcement is a significant setback for the European Commission’s joint jabs buy-up. Top eurocrat Ursula von der Leyen has come under fire for her shambolic handling of the scheme that has led to a shortage of supplies across the bloc.

Valneva said it will “depriortise” talks with the Commission but wants to work with individual EU capitals on a “country by country basis”.

Its chief executive Thomas Lingelbach said: “We’ve committed significant time and effort to try to meet the needs of the central procurement process.

“Despite our recent clinical data, we have not made meaningful progress.

“We are now concentrating our efforts on EU member states and interested parties outside the EU.”

Boris Johnson pipped the vaccines start-up from under the nose of Emmanuel Macron after France refused to fork out for research into its jab.

Valneva’s shot is unlike any other vaccine on the market and is based on an “inactivated” version of the coronavirus disease.

It has a contract with the UK to supply up 190 million doses of its jab, which will be manufactured in Livingstone, West Lothian.

Brussels held “exploratory talks” over an order of 60 million Valneva vaccines, but that will now go no further.

Early trials into the jab’s efficacy show it provides strong immunity, with more than 90 percent of people receiving it developing significant antibodies.

The firm is hoping to secure regulatory approval in the UK this autumn.

Valneva’s EU snub comes as the bloc’s vaccine rollout improves but continues to lag behind Britain’s scheme.

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So far, just 18.5 percent of people across the Continent have received their first dose of a coronavirus jab.

In contrast, Britain has rolled out more than 43 million vaccines, with over half of all adults now having received at least one shot.

Romanian MEP Christian Terhes said Valneva’s decision was scrap talks with the EU was a withering indictment of the “wall of red tape and out of touch bureaucracy in Brussels”.

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He added: “Self-determining, fast and nimble national governments win the race every time, as the UK proved with its the vaccine rollout.

“This proves we don’t need a Bigger Europe but a Better Europe, which is done not through endless bureaucracy but national governments that are closer to their people.”

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