By Tony Winterburn •
Published: 27 Jan 2021 • 22:01
EU Demands Vaccine Doses From AstraZeneca's UK Production Plant. image: Pixabay
EU Demands Vaccine Doses From AstraZeneca’s UK Production Plant.
The EU has said AstraZeneca must take coronavirus vaccines from UK factories to make up a shortfall in supplies to its member states, a demand that could unleash an explosive post-Brexit political fight.
AstraZeneca was contractually obliged to use vaccines produced at UK plants to fulfil its delivery obligations to EU states, the European Commission said, as Brussels called on the manufacturer to agree to publish its EU supply contract. The EU demands marked a further escalation in a bitter dispute since AstraZeneca last week said its first-quarter deliveries would fall more than 50 per cent short of the bloc’s expectations.
Boris Johnson, UK prime minister, believes his government last year secured a watertight deal with AstraZeneca — signed three months before the EU — to supply 100m doses. More than 7m people in Britain have received their first Covid-19 vaccine dose. Mr Johnson told a press conference in Downing Street on Wednesday evening: “We are very confident of our supplies and our contracts and we are going ahead on that basis.” His allies said he wants to stop the row escalating and sparking “vaccine nationalism”.
Asked whether the UK would consider export restrictions for vaccines — of the kind being considered by the EU — Mr Johnson stressed the need for international co-operation in the effort to fight Covid-19.
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