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AstraZeneca crisis: Brussels forced to go cap in hand to US despite snubbing UK jab

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Brussels hopes to gain an export agreement with the US in a forthcoming transatlantic meeting – despite previously hitting out at the Oxford jab. The meeting’s goal is to boost transatlantic collaboration in the fight against coronavirus. US president Joe Biden and EU head Ursula von der Leyen discussed pandemic co-operation on Friday.

The European Commission said both sides of the Atlantic have a “strong interest” in working together to increase the supply of vaccines across the world.

However, the EU is experiencing shortfalls and now requires Washington to send batches of the crucial ingredients needed to increase European production of the vaccine.

This may be politically difficult for Mr Biden as the White House said it intends to meet domestic demand first.

A White House official said: “The president’s first priority is to make vaccines available for every American.

“The US and EU have committed to deepening co-operation on pandemic response.

“This includes enhancing public health capabilities and information sharing.

“We know that in order to beat this pandemic and to turn a corner on economic recovery, we must work with our allies and partners.”

The AstraZeneca vaccine has previously been slammed by EU chiefs Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron.

READ MORE: EU crisis: Bloc criticised for vaccine delay – ‘Brexit 1 Brussels 0’

Speaking to the Financial Times an EU spokesperson said: “We trust that we can work together with the US to ensure that vaccines produced or bottled in the US for the fulfillment of vaccine producers’ contractual obligations with the EU will be fully honoured.”

Fears of vaccine hoarding by the EU are increasing, with one batch of AstraZeneca vaccines being blocked from shipment to Australia this week.

The EU is in a desperate battle to try and increase its vaccine rollout.

Currently, the bloc is trailing far behind both the US and the UK in the distribution of vaccinations.



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