Coronavirus vaccines: PM to telephone EU leaders in bid to stop export ban being imposed

Posted: March 22nd 2021


These vaccine wars put us all in a bad light. This is a truly global problem and I think overcoming it needs a strong case of “jaw,jaw” or nuanced from that famous saying “jab, jab’! Rural England plays host to some of the most vulnerable and frail people in the country and they along with everyone else will suffer if we can’t cut through this combative rhetoric. This story tells us:

Boris Johnson is expected to speak to his EU counterparts this week as a row over Covid vaccine supplies continues.

EU leaders will hold a virtual meeting on Thursday to discuss a ban on Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine exports to the UK - but the PM aims to put the UK's case in one-on-one phone calls before that.

The European Commission president says the EU can "forbid" vaccines made on the continent being sent to the UK.

The latest flashpoint appears to be over doses made in a Dutch factory.

The dispute over vaccine exports from the EU and a potential ban comes after European leaders have faced criticism for the slow pace of the vaccine rollout on the continent.

British-Swedish manufacturer AstraZeneca said the fact that EU contracts were signed later than with the UK caused problems with supplying their vaccine.

Downing Street has previously said that it does not believe that vaccine supply issues will affect the current road map for easing lockdown restrictions or the targets for administering jabs.

But the Guardian says a report by data analysts Airfinity suggests that if an export ban was applied to all vaccines - including those from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson that have yet to be deployed in the UK - it would see the offer of a first vaccine to every adult completed in late August rather than the target date of 31 July.