EU vaccine row: Will EU impose vaccine controls? PM calls for ceasefire as third wave hits

AstraZeneca: Suspension of vaccine will 'cost lives' says expert

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The coronavirus vaccination programme across EU nations has become a highly contentious issue. The bloc has condemned the UK claiming the country is responsible for imposing an “outright ban” on exports of the vaccine impacting the rollout of the vaccine across the EU. The controversy continued to escalate with the bloc threatening to withhold shipments of the vaccine if it does not receive deliveries first.

The EU has been criticised for its slow rollout of the coronavirus vaccine.

As tensions between the UK and EU escalate, the European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has threatened to halt exports of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine if the bloc did not receive its deliveries first.

She told Germany’s Funke newspaper group: “We have the option of banning a planned export.

“That’s the message to AstraZeneca: you fulfil your contract with Europe first before you start supplying to other countries.”

The threat from Ms von der Leyen was the latest move in a standoff between the Swedish-British pharmaceutical company over delayed shipments.

Drugmaker Pfizer, which needs crucial ingredients from Yorkshire, warned the EU to back down from its threat this week.

Pfizer warned Brussels the UK could opt to retaliate against any export ban by withholding raw materials needed for its jab according to the Telegraph.

A senior source close to the vaccine-production process told the publication Pfizer is “heavily dependent” on “fatty molecules” from a chemicals firm based in Yorkshire.

The ongoing controversy is happening as a third wave is striking several parts of Europe.

Germany is among several European countries which have warned of an “exponential growth” in infections.

In total, 20 EU countries have now reported an increase in positive coronavirus tests.

Out of these 15 countries have said hospital and intensive care admissions have increased.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “We have exponential growth… so it is good we had agreed on an emergency brake and unfortunately we will have to make use of this emergency brake.”

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has privately urged Ms von der Leyen to avert a full-scale coronavirus vaccine war.

This week Mr Johnson said he wanted to “cooperate with our European friends”.

He added: “we will geet on and deliver all the second doses of Pfizer”.

Mr Johnson added Britain’s “progress along the road to freedom remains unchecked”.

So far just 10 percent of Europeans have received a first dose of the vaccine, compared to 23 percent in the USA and 39 percent in Britain.

According to the coronavirus.app the following number of people have been vaccinated so far:

  • The UK: 25,735,471
  • Germany: 6,970,861
  • France: 5,630,861
  • Russia: 5,431,048
  • Italy: 5,063,136
  • Spain: 4,106,550
  • Poland: 3,074,378
  • Romania: 1,571,466
  • Hungary: 1,477,554
  • Netherlands: 1,394,603
  • Serbia: 1,285,223
  • Greece: 935,269
  • Czech Republic: 922,458
  • Sweden: 883,561
  • Belgium: 864,841
  • Portugal: 863,570
  • Austria: 855,537
  • Switzerland: 703,872
  • Finland: 671,647
  • Denmark: 606,376
  • Norway: 475,794
  • Slovakia: 472,227
  • Ireland: 455,182
  • Bulgaria: 289,311
  • Lithuania: 272,246
  • Croatia: 233,423
  • Slovenia: 177,566
  • Estonia: 150,844
  • Cyprus: 116,331
  • Malta: 92,250
  • Latvia: 83,017
  • Luxembourg: 50,220
  • Iceland: 37,179.

However, the slow vaccine rollout is not the only factor impacting vaccinations.

Many European countries are not choosing to leave the space between the first and second doses meaning more of their population is fully vaccinated compared to the UK.

The following are percentages of each EU country which has been fully vaccinated:

  • Serbia: 11.4 percent
  • Malta: 9.2 percent
  • Denmark: 5 percent
  • Norway: 5 percent
  • Hungary: 4.5 percent
  • Slovenia: 4.4 percent
  • Poland: 4.2 percent
  • Iceland: 4.2 percent
  • Slovakia: 4.2 percent
  • Estonia: 4.1 percent
  • Greece: 4.1 percent
  • Lithuania: 4.1 percent
  • Spain: 4.1 percent
  • Romania: 3.8 percent
  • Italy: 3.8 percent
  • Sweden: 3.8 percent
  • Germany: 3.8 percent
  • Cyprus: 3.8 percent
  • Belgium: 3.6 percent
  • Portugal: 3.6 percent
  • Ireland: 3.5 percent
  • France: 3.4 percent
  • Austria: 3.4 percent
  • Czech Republic: 3.2 percent
  • Luxembourg: 2.9 percent
  • Netherlands: 2.9 percent
  • The UK: 2.9 percent
  • Croatia: 1.6 percent
  • Finland: 1.6 percent
  • Latvia: 0.9 percent
  • Bulgaria: 0.9 percent
  • Russia: 0 percent
  • Switzerland: 0 percent.

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