EU: Expert slams Ursula von der Leyen on vaccine rollout
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President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has fanned the flames in the UK-EU vaccine feud today as she threatened to block exports to Britain.She said “all options are on the table” to boost the EU’s stuttering immunisation campaign, including moves to halt exports to countries which “have higher vaccination rates than us”.The EU chief added: “We are still waiting for doses to come from the UK, so this is an invitation to show us that there are also doses from the UK coming to the European Union.”Open roads run in both directions.”The vaccine rollout in Europe has endured delays after pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca warned the bloc it would not be able to deliver the original amount promised.
However, the UK has had no such issues as nearly 25 million Britons had received their first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by Tuesday.
Ms von der Leyen has come under scrutiny as a result of the crisis, with Europe’s media condemning Brussels.
German newspaper Tagesspiegel hit out at Ms von der Leyen and co for blaming pharmaceutical companies.
It said in January: “It borders on shamelessness. To put it mildly… Who is getting how much and when? How many doses are available? How many refrigerated containers are there?
“Who’s taking care of transport? The requirements are not only national. Which is precisely why it’s the EU’s job to take care of them… In a concerted and concentrated effort of military precision.
“What the pharma industry has pulled off, with groundbreaking inventions at breakneck speed, is a wonder. But what the EU is doing makes you shake your head in wonder. And that’s putting it politely.”
Danish outlet Jyllands-Posten echoed this sentiment, saying: “It comes as no surprise that Brexit supporters see this as confirmation of their view that Britain is better off outside the EU.
“And this attitude could quickly spread among EU sceptics.
“Confidence in the EU doesn’t exactly increase when Ursula von der Leyen starts an open row with vaccine suppliers and starts wondering whether to resort to the ultimate protectionist instrument, the export ban.
“Europe is nothing without the European Union, but if the current chaos continues, millions more Europeans are more likely to develop immunity to the EU – long before they get their first Covid vaccination.”
Ms von der Leyen hit out at AstraZeneca again today, accusing them of “under-producing and under-delivering”.
In a series of tweets following the speech, Ms von der Leyen said: “The start was tough. Now we’re making progress on vaccination.
“BionTech-Pfizer and Moderna are delivering on their contracts.
“First Johnson & Johnson vaccines to arrive in April.
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“We can achieve our target to have 70 percent of adults fully vaccinated by the end of summer.”
The tweets continued: “The EU has been exporting vaccines in support of global cooperation.
“But open roads run in both directions.
“If needed we’ll reflect on how to adjust our exports based on reciprocity and, in the case of countries with higher vaccination rates than us, proportionality.”
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