A leaked letter despatched by Charles Michel, the European Council president, reveals Brussels is exploring “pressing measures to make sure efficient vaccine manufacturing and provide for our inhabitants”.
The so-called “vaccine wars” have been sparked by AstraZeneca guaranteeing provides to the UK – whereas delaying deliveries to the EU due to manufacturing issues, arguing its contract was signed later.
In response, Mr Michel stated emergency measures had been being explored to dam exports, together with of the Pfizer vaccine the place the UK has 40 million doses on order.
“This might give the EU and member states the authorized means, by adopting applicable pressing measures, to make sure efficient vaccine manufacturing and provide for our inhabitants,” he wrote.
“I made this suggestion to the Fee president Ursula von der Leyen in order that we will discover this avenue imminently,” he instructed the leaders of Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Greece.
Mr Michel, who represents the EU’s 27 member states, stated efforts would proceed to resolve the matter with AstraZeneca “by dialogue and negotiation”.
“Nonetheless, if no passable answer might be discovered, I consider we should always discover all choices and make use of all authorized means and enforcement measures at our disposal below the treaties,” he added.
The battle – which follows an EU declare on some vaccines made within the UK – heated up amid a separate spat over a German ruling that the AstraZeneca vaccine ought to solely be given to under-65s.
On a go to to Scotland, Boris Johnson denied any issues, saying: “No, as a result of I feel the MHRA [Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency], our personal authorities, have made it very clear that they assume the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is excellent”.
“The proof they’ve equipped is that they assume it’s efficient throughout all age teams and offers a superb immune response throughout all age teams,” the prime minister added.
Concern is rising in Brussels that’s falling behind within the vaccine race, with round 13 per cent of Britons given a jab, in contrast with solely 2 per cent of the EU’s inhabitants.
One knowledge firm’s forecast means that the UK may have achieved herd immunity by vaccinating 75 per cent of the inhabitants by 14 July – whereas the EU must wait till 21 October.
In the meantime, the worst violence in a long time has damaged out in Dutch cities towards coronavirus restrictions, with fears the protests will develop if hopes are dashed.
The EU did not make a breakthrough in disaster talks with AstraZeneca on Wednesday, when it demanded the drug maker spell out the way it will provide the bloc with reserved doses of vaccine from crops on either side of the Channel.
Extra complete checks have additionally delayed regulatory approval – which is now anticipated to be given on Friday.
In the meantime, the Scottish authorities might begin publishing particulars of coronavirus vaccine provides arriving within the nation as early as subsequent week – regardless of a earlier outcry from the UK Authorities when numbers had been made public.
Holyrood ministers had been compelled to vary vaccination paperwork they’d revealed on-line when the UK authorities claimed setting out what number of doses are anticipated and when might breach business confidentiality.
However with Nicola Sturgeon below fireplace concerning the vaccination roll-out in Scotland, she stated: “I feel we are going to simply return to publishing the precise provide figures from subsequent week, in order that all of us have transparency round that.”
The primary minster recalled that when her authorities initially revealed the anticipated provide particulars, she had “the UK authorities demanding we took that out of the general public area”.
However on the identical time she stated UK politicians had been “fairly completely satisfied to transient these figures by spin to the media”.