Shameless EU try to buy 10million AstraZeneca from India despite block on vaccines being exported to the UK

BAREFACED Brussels chiefs are trying to buy up 10million doses of AstraZeneca from India – despite the country blocking four million jabs destined for the UK.

The EU has asked the Serum Institute of India for the jab in the latest sign of growing pressure on Delhi to export more of its production to other countries.

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AFP
EU officials wrote to India a fortnight ago asking for 10million jabs as cases surge across the continent, it’s been revealed[/caption]
EPA
German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned recently Europeans are facing ‘a new pandemic’[/caption]

Reuters reports that the EU wants the doses from Serum, the world’s largest vaccine maker, to offset shortfalls in supply from AstraZeneca’s European plants.

It’s also hoped the extra doses will speed up the bloc’s bungled vaccine roll-out, which has been beset with challenges.

But the UK is already facing a vaccine shortage this month after Serum withheld four million doses.

It comes as:

Last month, Matt Hancock confirmed: “We have a delay in the scheduled arrival from the Serum Institute of India.”

He reassured Brits that the country remains on track to vaccinate anyone aged 50 and over by April 15, and every adult in the country by the end of July.

News that politicians from the EU have reached out to India comes just days after France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel hosted a video call with Vladimir Putin.

The Euro pair reportedly begged the Russian president to supply them with the Sputnik vaccine – hours after Angela Merkel suspended use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab for the under-60s.

However, it’s understood European leaders’ calls to India for more doses is unlikely to happen quickly.

India is scrambling to expand its own domestic vaccination drive and wants to flood the country with vaccinations first.

The situation across much of Europe remains alarming amid a bungled vaccine roll-out

Meanwhile, Britain is also pressuring India to export the second half of 10million doses it had ordered from Serum, a source said.

Serum was originally supposed to produce the AstraZeneca vaccine only for low and medium-income countries.

But a source said: “The EU ambassador wrote a letter, saying ‘Please give us (export) approvals’,” a source said.

The letter was sent around two weeks ago.

Serum, AstraZeneca and India’s foreign ministry did not respond to requests for comment.

A spokeswoman for the EU Commission said they had no immediate comment.

The bloc has struggled to deliver jabs doses amidst repeated suspensions of the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine

India, however, has said that it is now focused on expanding its own immunisation drive as Covid cases have surged since March.

The country has so far exported 64million vaccine doses to 83 countries, and administered the same number of doses at home.

Its inoculation drive expanded from Thursday to include everyone above the age of 45, which is expected to raise vaccine demand substantially.

India has reported 12.22million cases of the coronavirus, the third highest number globally after the US and Brazil.

It has recorded nearly 163,000 deaths from coronavirus.

Meanwhile, France was last night plunged back into a third national lockdown.

Macron warned the country is likely to “lose control” amid a surge of cases.

Schools will shut and domestic travel is banned under the new rules.

And in Germany, Angela Merkel has blamed the Kent Covid variant for causing a “new pandemic” as she cancelled Easter for millions.

AFP
The Serum Institute of India is the world’s biggest jabs maker[/caption]


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