Home U.K EU humiliation: Germans dubbed bloc's vaccine disaster 'best advert for Brexit'

EU humiliation: Germans dubbed bloc's vaccine disaster 'best advert for Brexit'


The UK registered an additional 873,784 new vaccinations yesterday, a new daily record coming in the same week over 50 percent of the adult population received at least a first dose. This has come in the midst of ongoing tension between the UK and EU over the distribution of jabs. Earlier this week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen hit out at pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, accusing them of “under-producing and under-delivering”. Ms von der Leyen added that “all options are on the table” to boost the EU’s stuttering immunisation campaign, including moves to halt exports to countries which “have higher vaccination rates than us”.

The EU chief added: “We are still waiting for doses to come from the UK, so this is an invitation to show us that there are also doses from the UK coming to the European Union. Open roads run in both directions.”

This was seen as a threat to block exports of jabs to the UK.

As Europe’s vaccine rollout continues to stumble, media in the EU have condemned the leadership in Brussels.

In February, German newspaper Die Zeit said the EU’s vaccine crisis was ““the best advertisement for Brexit”.

It added that “hardliners in the UK will not forget Von der Leyen’s Brexit own-goal” in almost imposing a hard border on Northern Ireland.

The outlet also said that British Europhiles “will increasingly be wondering whether the departure from Brussels was such a bad thing after all”.

Another German newspaper, Tagesspiegel hit out at Ms von der Leyen in January for blaming pharmaceutical companies.

It said: “It borders on shamelessness. To put it mildly… Who is getting how much and when? How many doses are available? How many refrigerated containers are there?

“Who’s taking care of transport? The requirements are not only national. Which is precisely why it’s the EU’s job to take care of them… In a concerted and concentrated effort of military precision.

“What the pharma industry has pulled off, with groundbreaking inventions at breakneck speed, is a wonder. But what the EU is doing makes you shake your head in wonder. And that’s putting it politely.”

The EU’s rollout could also be hit because of the controversy surrounding the AstraZeneca jab.

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He said: “Maybe people are being overly cautious. My fear is that we are in France where many people are vaccine hesitant, I’d almost say defiant, I fear people will not interpret this the right way.”

Michael Head, senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton in the UK, added that the suspension of the AstraZeneca jab could “have possibly a serious knock-on effect, in terms of vaccine confidence and vaccine hesitancy and uptake beyond that.”

He told CNN before the EMA stated its confidence in the vaccine: “It takes a while to build up confidence in a vaccine which we [the global health community] did with rigorously conducted trials, with really good safety data, with being open and transparent about what we did and didn’t find.

“When we have widespread withdrawal of the vaccine across multiple countries, in some countries that are quite vaccine-hesitant anyway, it might take a long time to rebuild that confidence.”


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