EU ‘jealous’ of UK’s vaccine rollout plan says Etheridge
Former UK Independence Party MEP Bill Etheridge argued the European Union is “jealous” of the UK’s preparedness and efficiency when it came to rolling out the coronavirus vaccine. He said that the Eurocrat had been found out and had “thrown their toys out of the pram” in response. It comes as the bloc faces internal anger over having only managed to administer about 8.9 million vaccine doses in total, about two for every 100 citizens. On the other hand, the US and the UK are running at seven and 10.5 respectively, while Israel is at 43.
Mr Etheridge told RT: “The European Union failed correctly to order the vaccines that they needed in the first place and they are very jealous of the speedy and efficient rollout that the UK has managed to do without having the EU bureaucracy hampering us.
“It isn’t the case of it being more important, it’s the case of the fact that we placed our orders first we planned better and we are doing it more efficiently.
“The EU have been found out as being a completely inefficient and useless organisation.
“Instead of understanding that and trying to find a way to cooperate and work alongside partners it’s throwing its toys out of the pram like an angry baby.
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“We were warned in the UK we were told that if we left the EU we would suffer, we wouldn’t get medicines, we wouldn’t get supplies,” he added.
“Well, it looks like its the other way around doesn’t it.”
Vaccine rollouts in the EU have been slow compared with some other countries, and fraught with problems, not least interruptions to supply chains.
AstraZeneca, which developed the drug in partnership with Oxford University, told the EU that it could not meet agreed supply targets by the end of March.
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Pfizer has also said there would be a temporary impact on shipments in late January to early February.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told a virtual meeting of the World Economic Forum: “Europe invested billions to help develop the world’s first COVID-19 vaccines. To create a truly global common good.
“And now, the companies must deliver. They must honour their obligations.”
In theory, EU member states could take AstraZeneca to court for breach of supply contracts if it did not honour its delivery schedule, Latvian Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkevics has confirmed.
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His spokesman said: “The possibility should be evaluated, and it should be coordinated among the EU countries.”
Each EU member state has a separate supply contract with the company.
Germany’s health minister Jens Spahn backed EU proposals to introduce restrictions on COVID-19 vaccine exports, saying Europe should have its “fair share”.
He explained: “I can understand that there are production problems but then it must affect everyone in the same way.”
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