European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has threatened to block deliveries of the Pfizer vaccine to the UK, despite raw materials for the jab being made in Britain. She said the bloc will “reflect on whether exports to countries who have higher vaccination rates than us are still proportionate”.
But now, Moderna has announced plans to deliver the first shipment of their vaccine as early as next month.
A spokesperson for the US biotech company said: “Moderna expects to begin deliveries to the UK in April, within the spring delivery window previously communicated.
“Moderna is on track to meet quarterly contractual commitments.”
The Moderna vaccine was the third jab to be approved by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in February.
MHRA Chief Executive Dr June Raine said at the time of approval: “Having a third COVID-19 vaccine approved for supply following a robust and thorough assessment of all the available data is an important goal to have achieved and I am proud that the agency has helped to make this a reality.
“The progress we are now making for vaccines on the regulatory front, whilst not cutting any corners, is helping in our global fight against this disease and ultimately helping to save lives.
“I want to echo that our goal is always to put the protection of the public first.
“Once in use, all COVID-19 vaccines are continually monitored by the MHRA.
READ MORE: Eurozone devastation looms as EU’s arrogance comes home to roost
As of Tuesday, the UK had given 25.2 million people the first dose of the vaccine.
Experts have warned the continent is entering its third wave of the pandemic but several EU states have halted the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine amid growing concerns of blood clots.
Germany, France, Italy and Spain, as well as Portugal, Slovenia, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Romania, Latvia, Austria, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Bulgaria, have stopped using the jab.
Today, the World Health Organisation’s European director, Hans Kluge, urged EU nations to continue to use the vaccine.
He said: “As of now, we do not know whether some or all of the conditions have been caused by the vaccine or by other coincidental factors.
“At this point in time, however, the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine far outweigh its risks and its use should continue, to save lives.”
Mr Kluge’s warning comes after Germany reported the biggest rise of cases in two months.
According to figures from the Robert Koch Institute, the number of confirmed cases jumped by 17,504 to 2,612,268, the biggest daily rise since January 22.
The death toll also rose by 227, bringing the total to 74,132.
The number of new cases per 100,000 people over seven days rose to 90, compared to 86 a day earlier.
Elsewhere in Europe, cases continue to rise in France, Italy and Poland.