Fears of vaccines shortages have led to the EU threatening a ban on COVID-19 jabs outside the bloc which will affect Britain’s supply. The EU Commi
Fears of vaccines shortages have led to the EU threatening a ban on COVID-19 jabs outside the bloc which will affect Britain’s supply. The EU Commission wants advance notification of AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and other vaccine exports to other countries claiming their down-payment on increasing production and doses have not seen adequate returns. Dr Margaret Harris from the World Health Organisation (WHO) said the organisation’s position is to distribute the vaccine across the world as quickly as possible and is against the EU’s protectionist methods.
Talkradio’s Julia Hartley-Brewer spoke to Dr Harris and told her: “There’s quite a big row ongoing now between the EU and AstraZeneca and the vaccine rollout.
“There’s now a suggestion from the EU Commission and the EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides saying they want AstraZeneca’s bosses, who they say has not provided the number of doses they want, they basically want to have an early notification whether they want to export vaccines to third countries.
“There’s concern that other countries, including Britain, not being able to get their vaccines, does the World Health Organisation have a policy on this in terms of if countries can block exports of vaccines?”
Dr Harris replied: “Well, we certainly are focusing on getting vaccines out to the highest risk groups all around the world.
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“So our policy is actually to get vaccines to every country in the world in the first hundred days and to ensure that people getting vaccinated are the health workers and the people in the older age groups.
“So that’s essentially our position.”
Ms Hartley-Brewer followed up and said: “So the WHO doesn’t support export bans?”
Dr Harris responded: “We want to see solidarity and we want to see fair distribution so those specific issues are something between countries.
“But one thing to also understand is that AstraZeneca has eight different production sites, they have a site in India, they have a site in Korea so the sites within Europe are not its only sites.”
The UK has ordered over 100 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine making it the main jab used in the UK. The UK has also ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech.
Our AztraZeneca vaccine is developed in the UK and Netherland with the latter being affected by the moves proposed by the EU.
The UK’s supply of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is developed in Belgium and would also be affected.
Currently, the UK is aiming to vaccinate the top four priority groups, or 15 million people, by mid-February.
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi pledged everyone in the UK would get their second AztraZeneca dose in March despite hesitations from Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to guarantee it.