AstraZeneca: Macron criticised over message by German MP
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While half of all adults in the UK have received their first dose, the EU has been criticised for moving at a glacial pace. The EU rate of vaccine doses administered per 100 people stands at around 11.81, according to a tracker on the Our World In Data website.
This week, the EU threatened to block exports of the AstraZeneca vaccine – which was developed with Oxford University – to the UK.
Ms von der Leyen said: “That’s the message to AstraZeneca: you fulfil your contract with Europe first before you start supplying to other countries.
“We have received nothing from the British, while we are supplying them with vaccines.”
But a UK Government minister has lashed out at the bloc arguing Britain will be the only “coronavirus-free country” in Europe.
The minister told the Sunday Telegraph: “The EU has monumentally ballsed this up. Madness!
“And then to play games and have a pop at AstraZeneca through bitterness and opportunism.
“And now it is coming back to bite them because they cannot get their population to take it.
“We will be the only coronavirus-free country in Europe in August or September.”
This comes after the new Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre in Oxfordshire is set to open by the end of the year.
The new centre will be able to produce up to tens of millions of jabs each year.
Last week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the Government will slowdown supplies of vaccines to “loopback and find as many people in the most vulnerable cohorts as possible”.
This comes amid an ongoing row with the bloc over vaccine supplies.
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Several EU member states halted the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine amid fears the jab increased the risk of blood clots.
The likes of Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland and France stopped administering the vaccine despite the World Health Organisation (WHO) urging nations to use the jab.
The WHO’s European director, Hans Kluge, said: “As of now, we do not know whether some or all of the conditions have been caused by the vaccine or by other coincidental factors.
“At this point in time, however, the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine far outweigh its risks and its use should continue, to save lives.”
However other EU countries such as Belgium, Poland and the Czech Republic said they would continue using the vaccine.
Belgium’s Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said due to the high number of cases, the country could not afford to stop the vaccine rollout.
He said: “For us, the balance is clear and clear, it’s a race against time.”
This came after experts have warned several EU member states are at the start of a third wave of the pandemic.
Earlier this month, Ms von der Leyen threatened to block deliveries of the Pfizer vaccine to the UK, despite raw materials for the jab being made in Britain.
She said the bloc will “reflect on whether exports to countries who have higher vaccination rates than us are still proportionate”.
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