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There is fury across Europe at the slow pace of the EU’s vaccine rollout, which is languishing far behind the UK’s. The European Commission has given member states the right to block jab exports to certain countries.
Earlier this month Italy blocked the export of 250,000 Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines to Australia using this power.
Speaking to Euronews German MEP Dr Peter Liese suggested the EU could go further and impose a “complete export ban” on vaccines made in the bloc.
Taking credit for the Oxford jab he added: “The argument of the UK Government is that they supported the development of the vaccine at the University of Oxford.
“That may be true, but I cannot imagine that the people in Oxford have not been benefiting from European money.
“Is there no honour or pride left in the EU?”
The UK vaccine programme is far ahead of the EU’s
“Oxford was one of the biggest recipients of European research money and more importantly, the German Government and the European Union financed the development of the BioTech vaccine and the development of the RNA technology in BioTech for many, many years.
“So the vaccine wouldn’t exist without European and German support.”
However, Express.co.uk readers hit out at the German politician pointing out Britain was a net contributor to the EU budget during its time as a member.
Others pointed out some senior European politicians initially rubbished the Oxford vaccine with Emmanuel Macron incorrectly describing it as “quasi-ineffective” for those aged over 65.
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Dr Peter Liese MEP said the Oxford vaccine wouldn’t exist “without European and German support”
Data shows the Oxford jab is highly effective at preventing death and hospitalisation for all age groups.
Reacting to Dr Liese one Express.co.uk reader pointed out: “There’s no such thing as EU money.
“It was OUR money we paid in as the second-largest contributor and funds given to anywhere in the UK was a tiny proportion of our OWN money back.”
A second added: “What a tiresome muppet.
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“The vaccine ‘wouldn’t exist without EU funding’. Except that as the UK was a massive net contributor to the EU, we owe Brussels NOTHING.”
In January AstraZeneca announced a dramatic cut in the number of vaccines it would supply the EU this spring due to production problems at a European plant.
EU leaders responded by demanding vaccines made in Britain were sent to the bloc and threatened an export ban when this was refused.
As part of the ban, the EU proposed introducing a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland but backed down following fury in London and Dublin.
The UK has recorded over 120,000 coronavirus deaths
A number of Express.co.uk readers pointed out attacks on the Oxford vaccine by senior officials meant many European countries have been struggling to get their populations to accept it.
One posted: “Is there no honour or pride left in the EU?
“We [Oxford University] developed a vaccine for three Euros.
“Despite the fact it was profit free, and yours [BioNTech/Pfizer jab] cost 30 Euros a dose, you withheld your order to enable you to squeeze the price even lower. And you succeeded.
There is anger across the EU at the bloc’s slow vaccine rollout
“When development problems occurred you trashed the AZ [AstraZeneca] vaccine to anyone who’d listen.
“You can’t get people to take it because of your misinformation.”
The UK has vaccinated a third of its population, a far higher figure than in any other European country.
As a result, Boris Johnson announced that, if everything goes to plan, restrictions on socialising in England will be lifted for June 21.