Boris and Belgian PM discuss ‘common efforts’ in crunch call as EU vaccine row explodes

Vaccine: Nick Ferrari says EU ‘putting citizens at risk'

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The Prime Minister and his Belgian counterpart discussed the “importance of global supply chains” vaccines and their “common efforts” to help drug manufacturers speed up production. Their chat comes after the EU and Britain traded blows following the bloc’s threat to ban exports of the Pfizer jab to its former member state, giving rise to fears of a potential vaccine war.

In a statement following his conversation with Mr Johnson, Mr De Croo said: “We discussed our efforts to tackle COVID-19.

“We also touched on the importance of global supply chains and on common efforts to speed-up vaccine production.”

On Wednesday the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen warned the EU would not hold back from stopping orders of the Pfizer shot from reaching the UK.

She said she would take drastic action if UK-made AstraZeneca vaccines ordered by the bloc did not arrive on the continent.

Ms von der Leyen drew widespread criticism for her comments.

She was accused of acting like a dictator after revealing plans to trigger the seldom-used Article 122.

She warned: “All options are on the table.

“We are in the crisis of the century and I’m not ruling out anything for now.

“We have to make sure Europeans are vaccinated as soon as possible.”

Britain’s foreign secretary Dominic Raab hit out at Ms von der Leyen, and accused the EU of “brinkmanship.”

The war of words came as member states brace for a dreaded third wave of Covid.

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Fears of another deadly onslaught of the virus prompted authorities in Paris to shut down the city of 2.1 million people.

The French capital along with 15 other regions in the country will be placed under a month-long shutdown from midnight on Friday.

As Europeans prepare for the worst, a string of nations on Thursday announced they would resume use of the AstraZeneca jab after they suspended it earlier this week.

Germany, France and Spain were among those to announce plans to start administering the jab again after the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) called it “safe and effective”.

The medicines body made the announcement following an investigation into 30 cases of unusual blood disorders in people who had received the vaccine.

The EMA said that the vaccine’s benefits in protecting people from coronavirus-related death or hospitalisation outweighs the possible risks.

However, it said a link between blood clots in the brain and the shot could not be definitively ruled out.

EMA director Emer Cooke told a briefing: “This is a safe and effective vaccine.

“If it were me, I would be vaccinated tomorrow.”

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