UK secures 100million Covid jabs in latest deal after vaccine maker binned talks with EU over bloc’s red tape
THE UK has secured another 100million vaccines from a French manufacturer – beating the EU to the punch, despite fury over the bloc’s bungled roll-out.
Brussels chiefs have launched legal action against AstraZeneca for promising Britain the first deliveries of its vaccine supplies.
Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest updatesThe UK has secured 100m more doses of a vaccine – from a French manufacturer[/caption]
But the row appears to have inspired another vaccine maker, Valneva, to make it clear it will also be putting the UK at the head of the queue for jabs, the Mail on Sunday reports.
And Brits will begin receiving 100m shots of the pharma company’s two-dose vaccine, made in West Lothian, Scotland, later this year, it’s claimed.
It comes as:
- Fully-vaccinated Americans will be able to travel to the EU this summer
- The number of people testing positive for Covid in the UK every day has halved in a month
- A third of NHS trusts no longer have any coronavirus patients in intensive care wards as infections plunge
- Brits in their 30s will be offered the jab within days, according to reports
- Scientists say all social distancing measures should be scrapped by June
Details of the row between Valneva and Brussels have been laid bare in official notes of an internal meeting of EU ambassadors, the publication reports.
The minutes state that the deal proposed by Valneva “so far remains below expectations for [EU] Member States”, in part because the firm’s contract is “explicitly giving priority to the UK over the EU”.
The European Commission has also received “no commitment from the company on delivery schedules”, the ambassadors complained.
More than half the population of the UK have had at least one jab.
But rates remain comparatively low across the EU.
Across the bloc, there have been just 29 jabs per 100 of the population.
That compares to 68 per 100 in the UK and 67 per 100 in the States.
Meanwhile, the bloc is stockpiling doses, including from AstraZeneca, despite some countries suspending its use for certain age groups.
Across the EU, more than 20m lifesaving jabs are simply piling up in warehouses.
Italy alone is reportedly clinging onto more than 2.5m shots – despite having administered just 29 doses per 100 of the population, or around 17.4m jabs.
Despite the delays, European officials have repeatedly accused AstraZeneca of breaching the terms of its contract with the bloc by supplying Britain first – even though the UK contract was signed first.
According to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, AstraZeneca’s contract with the UK is an “exclusivity deal”.
The company’s contract with the EU is a “best efforts” arrangement, he said, and in March claimed: “Our contract trumps theirs.”
Similarly, Valneva signed agreements to supply the UK with vaccine supplies months ago, but has not yet put pen to paper with the EU.
FURY OVER EU RED TAPE
And last week, the company said it will “deprioritise” talks with Brussels amid reported fury over the bloc’s red tape.
However, bosses say they want to work with individual EU capitals on a “country by country basis”.
Chief executive Thomas Lingelbach said: “We’ve committed significant time and effort to try to meet the needs of the central procurement process.
“Despite our recent clinical data, we have not made meaningful progress.
“We are now concentrating our efforts on EU member states and interested parties outside the EU.”
Britain poached the French start-up from under Emmanuel Macron’s nose after he refused to fully stump up for research into its jab.Meanwhile, France recently returned to a national lockdown[/caption] Demonstrators in Germany protested against a new curfew at the weekend[/caption]
An initial British deal for 60m Valneva doses was struck last September. The order was raised to 100m at the start of February.
In total, the EU has administered more than 120m vaccines. More than two-thirds of those were Pfizer.
It was last week announced that Brussels is taking legal action against AstraZeneca for what it claims is the company’s “complete failure” to meet delivery and contractual agreements.
The company stoked the ire of the EU in January when it admitted it couldn’t ship to the bloc the number of doses initially anticipated.
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By the end of the first quarter, the company delivered just 30m doses to EU countries, rather than the 100m doses pledged in its EU contract, Politico reports.
The company has projected it’ll deliver roughly 70m doses by the end of the second quarter of this year.
However, according to its agreement with the EU, it should have delivered the entire 300m doses by then, it’s claimed.
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