Brazilian coronavirus variant 'is a concern' to UK says expert
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In an appeal to Washington, the EU Commission had asked for a loan of 10 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. However, despite the bloc’s desperate plea, the appeal was rejected by the US government although the drug has not yet been approved by the EU. The President has claimed every adult must have one dose of the vaccine by May and has the power, under the Defense Production Act, to have greater control over industrial production.
With the bloc struggling with its own vaccine rollout, the New York Times reported the EU had asked for a loan of additional doses ahead of its expected approval on Thursday.
The EU agreed a deal for 55 million doses of the vaccine by the second quarter of this year.
Although the pharmaceutical company is confident of its vaccine rollout in the US, it is unclear whether it will hit its supply targets for the EU.
According to officials from the company, they are now under stress to deliver the 55 million doses by the end of June.
The company has maintained its intent to deliver 200 million doses to the EU by the end of the year.
A statement from the company said: “Aligned with our agreement, we expect to begin supplying our commitment of 200 million doses to the European Union in the second quarter of 2021.”
If there were issues to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine supply, it would represent the latest blow to the EU.
States such as Hungary and Slovakia have now looked to the Russian and Chinese vaccines due to the slow rollout of doses in the EU.
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Denmark and Austria have also agreed a deal for future collaboration on vaccines with Israel, due to the failures of the EU Commission.
In a further twist, the EU has come under fire for accusing the US and UK of blocking vaccine exports.
German MEP Peter Liese claimed the EU must be tough with the US over vaccine supplies.
He added: “We are behaving as if Joe Biden is an angel, but in this case Joe Biden is Donald Trump.
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“And I don’t want to be kind to someone who’s keeping Europeans from being vaccinated.”
In a newsletter, EU Council President Charles Michel rejected claims of vaccine nationalism within the bloc and instead pointed the blame to the US and UK.
The accusation was rejected by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab last night, while the EU delegation to the UK was summoned to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.
Boris Johnson said in response: “We can also be proud of the support the UK has given to the international Covid response.
“I, therefore, wish to correct the suggestion from the European Council president that the UK has blocked vaccine exports.
“Let me be clear we have not blocked the export of any single COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine components.
“This pandemic has put us all on the same side in the battle for global health, we oppose vaccine nationalism in all its forms.”
EU officials have pointed to figures which show 25 millions doses of vaccines that were exported from the continent to other countries around the world, instead of staying within the bloc.
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