EU U-turn: Macron shamed as VDL finally says she would take Oxford vaccine

UK 'is correct' in AstraZeneca vaccine ruling says expert

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The Oxford-produced vaccine has been subjected to numerous attacks from across the bloc because of a spat between the European Commission and its Anglo-Swedish manufacturer. AstraZeneca warned last month that it would have to slash the number of doses sent to member states due to production hiccups. This sparked a frenzy of slurs, including from French President Emmanuel Macron who branded the jab “quasi-ineffective”.

And despite authorisation for use across all adults by the European Medicines Agency, a number of EU capitals refused to green-light the jab for use in over-55s.

There have since been reports in Germany, France, Belgium and Italy of people turning down the AstraZeneca vaccine because of concerns over its safety and efficacy.

In a bid to reassure Europeans, Mrs von der Leyen said: “I would be vaccinated with the vaccine from AstraZeneca just as safely as with the products from BioNTech/Pfizer or Moderna.

“When we started looking for the most promising out of the hundreds of candidates ten months ago, we assumed an effectiveness of between 50 and 70 percent.

“Now everyone is above that.

“The vaccine has been carefully examined, found to be safe and effective, and approved.”

Earlier this week the German government had to put out a similar message to its citizens to assure them the Oxford-produced vaccine is safe.

A fresh row could emerge between AstraZeneca and Brussels after it was reported that the Anglo-Swedish firm will deliver yet more doses.

It was claimed the drugs giant will deliver less than half the vaccine it promised in the second quarter of this year, an EU official told the Reuters news agency on Tuesday.

But the Pharmaceutical company said rejected the reports, insisting it would work to fulfil its contracted delivery of 180 million jabs.

A spokesman for the firm said: “At this stage, AstraZeneca is working to increase productivity in its EU supply chain and to continue to make use of its global capability in order to achieve the delivery of 180 million doses to the EU in the second quarter.”

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At a virtual summit tomorrow, EU leaders will call for a continuation of tough measures to curb the spread of coronavirus across the bloc as a result of the bungled vaccine strategy.

In leaked draft summit conclusions, seen by Express.co.uk, EU leaders will say: “The epidemiological situation remains serious and the new variants pose additional challenges.

“We must therefore uphold tight restrictions while stepping up efforts to accelerate the provision of vaccines.”

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They will order a report to be drawn up on the “lessons learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic” and the failure of eurocrats as anger over the slow rollout of Covid jabs grows.

They will also resist immediately reopening international travel ahead of the summer holidays.

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