Matt Hancock gives update on EU vaccine row
It comes after the European Commission President accused the UK of risking the safety of its citizens by quickly approving the use of Covid jabs. The European People’s Party – of which German Chancellor Angela Merkel is also a senior member – will today host a “jab to fake news” summit. The online event was organised to “raise awareness about its strategy on vaccines and to tackle the disinformation around it”.
But it was only this week that EU chief Mrs von der Leyen accused Britain of cutting corners over vaccines.
She said the UK had only got a head start over the bloc after comprising on “safety and efficacy” tests.
The Commission chief said leaving it late “was the right decision”, adding: “It is a gigantic responsibility.”
Britain secured a three-week head start over Brussels by taking responsibility for any future liabilities for the vaccines.
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After the unjust criticism, Mrs von der Leyen continues to support the EU’s sluggish mass roll-out of Covid jabs.
Her pan-European political party drew criticism after one of its most senior members sought to discredit one of the Europe’s most successful vaccine schemes.
Romanian MEP Cristian Terhes said: “Von der Leyen’s EPP can’t stop making a fool of itself.
“A week after misleading people over who was responsible for attempting to impose a vaccine blockade on Northern Ireland, Von Der Leyen’s party holds a conference on fake news.
“European centralisers and power-hungry bureaucrats clearly have no self-criticism or sense of irony. Claiming that EU is doing a good job of the vaccination rollout is clearly fake news.”
And German MEP Gunnar Beck added: “The UK Government ordered the vaccine in good time, in sufficient quantity, and at very low cost.
“The EU Commission did so late, in insufficient quantities, and from suppliers which either overcharge or still can’t deliver.
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“And now von der Leyen’s party is using public money for a campaign to show that those in high places cannot do wrong.”
The EU’s slow roll-out of Covid jabs has sparked fury across the bloc.
The EU has so far administered 13.5 million coronavirus jabs, around three percent of its population of 450 million.
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In contrast, Britain alone has delivered more than 10 million doses, at a rate of 15 percent.
Earlier this week it emerged EU Parliament officials were exploring options to force a vote on Mrs von der Leyens’ future.
Some want her to resign for her handling of the bloc’s vaccine farce, which she has taken personal charge of.
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