London | The British government assured on Tuesday that the COVID vaccination in the United Kingdom would not be affected by the delivery delays in Europe and warned of any “vaccine nationalism” after the threat from Brussels to control its exports.
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“I am confident that AstraZeneca and Pfizer (…) will both provide us with the quantities we need to reach our target by mid-February,” said Nadhim Zahawi, Secretary of State for the vaccination campaign. , on the Sky News channel.
“I am sure they will supply the European Union, the United Kingdom and the rest of the world,” he added of the American laboratory Pfizer, whose vaccines delivered to the United Kingdom are manufactured in Belgium, while that of AstraZeneca is essentially in the country itself.
After delays announced by Pfizer in COVID vaccine shipments, a similar announcement from AstraZeneca on Friday sparked anger in the EU.
The British laboratory indicated that deliveries would be smaller than expected in the first quarter due to a “drop in yield” on a European manufacturing site for its vaccine, whose European regulatory green light is expected on Friday.
The European Commission on Monday proposed to the Member States a “transparency mechanism” obliging pharmaceutical companies to notify the European authorities in advance of deliveries to non-EU countries of doses of vaccines produced on the territory of the Union.
This could threaten exports to the UK, which is no longer part of the European bloc and imports the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine from Belgium.
“Vaccine nationalism is not the right way to go,” Secretary of State Nadhim Zahawi said on Times Radio. “No one will be safe until everyone is safe,” he added.
The British government has set a deadline of mid-February to administer a first dose of one of these two vaccines to 15 million people over the age of 70 and caregivers. Since the campaign was launched in early December, nearly 6.6 million of them have already received one.
Nadhim Zahawi also said that London is expected to announce Tuesday whether travelers arriving from abroad will be consigned at their own expense in hotels to fight against the arrival of new variants likely to be more resistant to vaccines.
According to British media, this measure may only concern travelers arriving from countries at risk, such as South Africa or Brazil.