London/Brussels, January 28
Europe’s fight to secure Covid vaccine supplies intensified on Thursday when the European Union (EU) said it would tighten oversight of exports after a row with AstraZeneca. Britain demanded that it receive all the shots it paid for.
The EU, whose member states are far behind Israel, the UK and the US in rolling out vaccines, is scrambling to get supplies just as the West’s biggest drugmakers slow deliveries to the bloc due to production problems. As vaccination centres in Germany and France cancelled or delayed appointments, the EU publicly rebuked AstraZeneca for failing to deliver and even asked if it could divert supplies from Britain.
Britain, which has repeatedly touted its lead in the vaccine rollout race since leaving the EU, said its deliveries must be honoured. — Reuters