EU ‘jealous’ of UK’s vaccine rollout plan says Etheridge
The World Health Organisation (WHO) wants the UK to pause its vaccination programme once vulnerable groups have received their jabs. This is to free global supplies for the vulnerable in poorer nations. WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris urged the UK “can wait” because fair global distribution of vaccines is “clearly morally the right thing to do”. This contradicts aim to offer all UK adults their first dose by autumn.
Ms Harris told BBC Breakfast on Saturday: “We’re asking all countries in those circumstances to do that: ‘hang on, wait for those other groups’.
“We’ll also appeal to all the people of the UK, you can wait.”
“We’re asking countries, once you’ve got those high risk and health care worker groups, please ensure that the supply you’ve got access to is provided for others.
“While that is morally clearly the right thing to do, it’s also economically the right thing to do.
“There have been a number of very interesting analyses showing that just vaccinating your own country and then sitting there and saying ‘we’re fine’ will not work economically.
“That phrase ‘no man is an island’ applies economically as well.
“We in the world.”
The EU has also faced shortages of the AstraZeneca vaccine and even considered triggering article 16 of the Brexit agreement to stop exports going to Britain through Northern Ireland.
However, on Friday, after condemnation the EU backtracked and decided not to go through with triggering article 16.
The UK has now said they expect no vaccine interruption from EU. Officials from the EU on Saturday said it was a “blunder” to consider invoking article 16 of the Northern Ireland Brexit emergency powers.
The conflict over article 16 EU has fallen far behind Britain and the United States in the race to vaccinate its citizens.
Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss said: “The Prime Minister Boris Johnson has spoken to Ursula von der Leyen.
“She has been very clear that those contractual supplies won’t be disrupted.
“That’s a very important assurance and, of course, we also have our UK-produced vaccines as well.
“If you look at our vaccines pipeline, 367 million doses, we have a significant supply to be able to vaccinate the UK population.”
The WHO has said countries should be allowing the freeing up of vaccine sticks to allow “two billion doses” to be “fairly distributed” around the world by the end of 2021.
Currently, the WHO is on a mission to China to try and discover the reasons for the original outbreak in Wuhan.
Reports suggest Chinese authorities are tightly controlling the movements of the WHO officials.
The WHO team this week went to Jinyintan Hospital, where doctors had collected samples from early patients suffering from what was at that time labelled as an unidentified pneumonia in late 2019.
More to follow…