Politics

Brexit expert blames EU grievances with UK for Covid vaccine ban ‘Nasty and unnecessary’

Vaccine row is ‘nasty and unnecessary’ says Brexit expert

Dr McCabe, from the Centre for Brexit Studies, slammed the vaccine row brewing between Brussels and Westminister as “nasty and unnecessary” but hinted that European officials could be motivated by lingering anger at the outcome of Brexit negotiations. UK-based firm AstraZeneca is at the centre of a row over the European Union’s slow roll-out of coronavirus jabs. Brussels has accused the firm, who developed one of the main vaccines used in the UK with Oxford University, of failing to deliver promised supplies in Europe.

The academic told TalkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer: “If it weren’t for the seriousness of what’s going on at the minute, we are in a dreadful pandemic, it would be seen as a bit of a storm in a teacup.

“Of course it could be that there is some residual blame and annoyance at the way the Brexit negotiations went.

“Quite clearly they are going to get their vaccine.

He added: “It is later than they would have hoped for and of course as we know the European have been more tardy in getting their vaccine out.”

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“Boris Johnson and his government may be blamed for many things as a result of this pandemic,” he continued.

“But getting the vaccine out has been one of the bright spots

“Quite clearly what is a worry is if they don’t cut off but make it more difficult to get the Pfizer-biotech vaccine over to us

“Then, of course, we suffer as a result of this, it’s nasty and unnecessary”

Vaccine: MEP grilled on EU’s ‘protectionism’ of securing doses

The row erupted after the Anglo-Swedish firm AstraZeneca said it would have to cut supplies to the bloc by 60 percent because of production hiccups.

The divergence prompted a Commission spokesman to admit officials are “worried” by the slow rollout of Covid jabs across the bloc.

He said: “How worried are we about the state of vaccinations? We are worried, that is for sure.”

Amid the growing frustrations, EU chiefs have drawn up plans to control exports of vaccines to outside the bloc.

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It was claimed this issue had been raised in a crisis meeting between the EU’s top health officials and AstraZeneca’s bosses.

Health commissioner Stella Kyriakides conceded the firm had offered a “lack of clarity and insufficient explanations” on how to increase its supply to the Continent.

Mrs von der Leyen yesterday warned that Brussels “means business” in addressing the row.

She insisted pharmaceutical firms should supply the bloc in return for millions of euros invested “to help develop the world’s first COVID-19 vaccines”.

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