The UK’s vaccine rollout has continued to make good progress as nearly 30 million people have received a jab. This has come amid tension between the EU and UK over the distribution of vaccines, with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen threatening to block exports of doses to Britain. She quipped yesterday that “perhaps I’m mistaken” as she said she had “no knowledge” of the UK exporting any vaccines — and was “waiting for their transparency”.
In Germany, only 60 percent of the doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine to arrive in the country have been used.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, 66, who is facing growing criticism over her handling of the pandemic, has said she would herself accept the AstraZeneca vaccine when her turn came.
As the country remains in lockdown, London editor of German newspaper Die Welt, Stefanie Bolzen, told the Chopper Politics podcast that she is now glad to be in the UK.
Ms Bolzen told the podcast that she had thought about leaving the UK for Germany this time last year as the UK struggled to get to grips with the pandemic
She even admitted being “scared” due to the rising cases in the UK.
However, she has recently said she would much rather be in the UK than Germany at this moment as the speedy vaccine rollout inspires hope that the end of the pandemic could be in sight.
She said: “A year ago, I remember the days here in London and how scared I was knowing that the British health system, while brilliant in some things, would be overwhelmed.
“Now a year later, I have had the vaccine, it looks like very slowly here in Britain we are going back to life as it was before.
“While in Germany, they are back to lockdown, vaccine rollout is still very slow. People are so frustrated and angry. Now, I’d rather stay here in London.”
Ms Bolzen also commented on the vaccine crisis in Europe, and said that Ms von der Leyen’s criticisms of the UK are not being echoed in Germany.
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“From the European perspective you can say, ‘Why can the UK expect the Europeans to send them BioNTech vaccines, and they are having a good rollout, good on them… but why in return do the Europeans get nothing back from the UK? Is that fair?'”
Christopher Hope, Telegraph journalist and host of the podcast, questioned whether this was due to the UK signing the contracts quicker than the EU.
Ms Bolzen argued that AstraZeneca are being secretive about this.
The journalist added: “That’s the very point, why don’t AstraZeneca give an answer?
“I interviewed the CEO Pascal Soriot and he did not answer that question, and time and again people are asking AstraZeneca to be transparent about it and they are not.”