AstraZeneca delay: Engineers deployed to Netherlands to improve jab yield and meet target

AstraZeneca: Zahawi reveals engineers supporting production

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Ten British engineers are in the Netherlands to make sure the AstraZeneca vaccine is being made efficiently, Nadhim Zahawi confirmed. Speaking to BBC CWR Radio, the vaccine minister told listeners that the engineers are there to improve jab yields and get them “on target.'” He also said people should not be concerned about the vaccine’s quick development and said the regulators, the MHRA are “very rigorous”.

Mr Zahawi said: “We have got ten engineers at the AstraZeneca Halix plant in the Netherlands.

“They are working there to make sure that their production is as efficient and is yielding as much vaccine substance as possible.”

The jabs minister added that this is so “both Europe and the UK can benefit from” the vaccine quickly.

Mr Zahawi went on to explain that the Brit presence in the Netherlands is vital “to make sure we all vaccinate our peoples” because until everyone is vaccinated the country will not be able to return to “open trade and open freedoms”.

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Mr Zahawi also assured listeners over the issue of Britain’s AstraZeneca order and who gets priority.

He said: “The Prime Minister made it very clear that our contract with AstraZeneca is that they would supply Europe once they have supplied their contracted amounts to the United Kingdom.”

He also told listeners not to be concerned over how fast the vaccine has been produced highlighting how the regulator (the MHRA) “is very rigorous when it looks at the data”.

He seconded the message from Professor Jonathan Van Tam, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the UK during the latest coronavirus briefing he outlined how effective the antibodies from the vaccine are for people who get the jab.

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The news comes as Ursula von der Leyen attempted to block AstraZeneca exports to the UK unless it gets ‘a fair share’.

The European Commission President warned countries who had been more successful in rolling out jabs could see their supply of vaccines from Europe cut.

Ministers in Britain reacted with outrage at the move from the EU.

Yesterday the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab labelled the move as ‘brinkmanship’.


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Ms von der Leyen’s remarks came after multiple EU countries suspended the use of the Oxford-developed AstraZeneca jab over concerns of blood clots.

The temporary ban came despite reassurances from the European Medicine Agency and the World Health Organisation that blood clots were not caused by the vaccine.

The UK Government insisted the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe to use as the benefits “outweigh the risk” highlighted by European member states about potential clotting.

As of March 17, more than 25 million people in the UK have received a first dose of the Covid vaccine. 

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