EUROPEAN Union chiefs meet later today to discuss how to solve the bloc’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout across the 27 member states.
New rules over exports in a bid to boost supplies within Europe will be discussed – which could hit the UK’s own successful immunisation programme.
Tensions have been rising between the EU and the UK over supplies and, in
particular, the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot.
The situation prompted a joint statement on Wednesday evening. The EU and UK stating they wished to create “a win-win situation and expand vaccine supply for all.”
It added: “We are all facing the same pandemic and the third wave makes
cooperation between the EU and UK even more important.”
There have been suggestions that the proposals being put before EU leaders would focus on the UK and US in particular, both with successful vaccination programmes and under new EU principles of ‘proportionality and reciprocity’ likely to be affected in any reduction in exports of European manufactured vaccines.
However, EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said that this was not the case. “We’re dealing with a pandemic and this is not seeking to punish any countries.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was asked by MPs about any response should the EU block vaccines travelling to the UK.
He said he did not believe “blockades of either vaccines or of medicines, of
ingredients for vaccines” would be “sensible” – essential parts of vaccine ‘recipes’ are made in the UK and sent across the Channel.