17 2 mins 2 yrs

One day, maybe, a politican somewhere might realise that the way to get through a cock up is to admit the cock up and change tack. But today is not that day.

With the EU demanding that Oxford/AstraZeneca send to them vaccines which the British government has properly ordered and paid for, the Wall Street Journal’s Germany correspondent reports that “German politicians are talking about vaccine wars when calling for export bans from Europe to Britain and America”.

Oh yeah, that’ll help. This is such a cock up, of the EU’s own making, that Remainers are mostly quiet. Some have taken to the airwaves to berate the EU. I heard two today say they are glad that we are out of it.

I read the replies to the original (German) post in that link and they seem rather horrified at what’s going on. Now, in Europe, the right move for any politician of any stripe is to call out the EU. It’s also the smart move because they’ll be on the right side of the outcome, which will be humiliation piled on humiliation for Brussels.

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17 thoughts on ““VACCINE WARS”

  1. Again, the US played some of the same game under Trump

    This issue – with PPE and vaccines and medical equipment – needs to be sorted out –the producing country simply cannot say that their citizens have first priority on the gear. If they do say that, then no third country who buys from the producing nation should count on them as a reliable supplier.

  2. Here is a good take on how the EU has screwed up its vaccine programme and is now lashing out in an attempt to save face. There is a clear threat that it will embargo legally contracted exports of the Pfizer vaccine from Belgium to any country outside the EU:

    “When von der Leyen tells pharmaceutical companies that ’they must honour their obligations’ she neglects to mention the role that the EU has played in the vaccine delays they are experiencing. Yes, AstraZeneca has experienced problems with vaccine yields in their European production facilities. But, according to the firm’s CEO Pascal Soriot, vaccine supplies elsewhere, including in Australia, the US and Britain have all been beset by similar issues with yield. The difference, which von der Leyen does not mention, is that other countries signed contracts with AstraZeneca earlier. This meant the pharmaceutical firm has had more time to iron out teething issues with the supply.

    ‘The UK contract was signed three months before the EU contract, so with the UK we have had an extra three months to fix all the glitches we have experienced,’ Soriot said in an interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica. Von der Leyen is being disingenuous then when she suggests that the delays are solely the responsibility of big pharma…

    To make matters worse, the legislation von der Leyen announced on Tuesday is at best short-termist and at worst malicious. Such a knee-jerk attempt to control vaccine exports, the deals for which were agreed months ago, shows just how out of touch the EU has become. Having been painfully slow out of the blocks in its vaccine negotiations, insisting that all countries in the bloc negotiate collectively, it now wants to lay the blame at everyone’s feet but its own. The EU needs to think very carefully about how it proceeds from here. The requirement for pharmaceuticals to ‘notify’ the EU about vaccine exports sounds ominous. It would also only benefit the EU materially if they were prepared to block the export of vaccines destined for other countries and seize them for use inside Europe. This would be drastic action indeed. If the EU is serious about its heavy-handed threats, it needs to face up to the diplomatic headaches it will create further down the road…”


  3. Phantom –

    The UK not only contracted early with O/AZ, it funded O/AZ to upgrade its production capacity in the UK to meet UK needs. So Britons are the priority, because we’ve paid for priority treatment.

    Some EU countries were attempting to do the same thing but the EU insisted that they sit down and leave it to the EU. Having ballsed it up the EU is now attempting to elvow its way to the front of the queue for a vaccine it hasn’t even approved yet. It is now demanding that O/AZ send to the EU vaccines produced in the UK, intended for the UK.

  4. If the EU blocks such contractually agreed exports to Britain or America, that’s not only an error, morally it’s a crime.

    Any country that is treated that way by the EU ( or by the United States ) should put a permanent block on sales of such products from the country that proved unreliable in the hour of need.

  5. The UK-Astra-Zeneca contract reserves all UK produced vaccine for the UK. The EU made no such provision in its contract with AZ. Now the EU is threatening to make up for a temporary shortfall in Astra Zeneca vaccine production in Germany by diverting Pfizer vaccines produced in Belgium from the UK to the EU. It’s the sort of stunt that Putin would pull:

    “The EU is now insisting that AstraZeneca use vaccine produced at its UK site to make up for a shortfall in its supplies to the EU. This is likely to kick off a major row as the UK went to great trouble to ensure that it had first refusal on all the Oxford vaccine produced in the UK. Indeed, AstraZeneca’s willingness to accept that condition is a major reason why Oxford ended up partnering with them.

    It is not hard to see how this situation could escalate. The EU is already saying that companies should notify them before exporting vaccine out of the bloc, and the German government is going further, calling for full on export controls on vaccines. If AstraZeneca refuses to comply with Brussels’s demand, the EU could put pressure on Pfizer, which makes its vaccine in Belgium, to stop exporting it out of the EU.”


  6. Would be a seriously unfriendly, and to my view, criminal action on the part of the EU.

    I can’t imagine that even the EU’s biggest fans here will justify this sort of action.

    Hopefully this does not happen.

    This would be just like the Chinese banning PPE exports after the idiots in the west allowed all production to be moved to ” such a cheap deal for you ” countries.

  7. I can’t imagine that even the EU’s biggest fans here will justify this sort of action.

    Maybe you’re right, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Devotion to the EU runs deep.

  8. A few days ago a German newspaper claimed that the AZ vaccine (which the EU was expected to approve on Friday) only has 8% effectiveness for the over 65s. This ludicrous claim was quickly dismissed by both AZ and the German government. But on Wednesday the paper doubled-down (Trump style) on its discredited claim and there is now a possibility that the German EU approval will only apply to under-65s, or it might even fail to get any approval at all. Let’s hope so, because that will mean that the shortfall in AZ supplies won’t be such a problem for them to whinge about:

    “Yesterday’s extraordinary row over the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has just become even stranger. The German government spent much of Tuesday rubbishing reports they had found the jab to be only 8 per cent effective among the over 65s. A claim that was published by the Düsseldorf-based financial paper Handelsblatt following a tip-off from anonymous sources within the German government. Instead, according to the country’s health ministry, there had been a very embarrassing misunderstanding:

    “At first glance it seems that the reports have mixed up two things: about 8 per cent of those tested in the AstraZeneca efficacy study were between 56 and 69… But one cannot deduce an efficacy of only 8 per cent with older people from that.

    Surely an open and closed case of mortifying mathematical misreading? Not according to Gregor Waschinski, the paper’s political correspondent whose byline appeared above the 1,200 word story. He stuck by his reporting, saying the 8 per cent efficacy figure had been shared by a ‘senior figure’ within the German government and had been ‘corroborated by other sources’. That senior German figure, according to Waschinski, is convinced that they are correct about the low efficacy rate:

    It seems the Handelsblatt journalist is now betting his credibility on whether the vaccine will be approved by EU regulators. A decision by the European Medicines Agency is due on Friday — and it is worth noting that the German paper Bild also ran a story yesterday about the Oxford jab, again from an anonymous German government source. According to that paper, the EMA is planning to reject the UK-developed vaccine because of its low efficacy among the over-65s (or, at the very least, dictate that the jab should only be used on young’uns).”


  9. Again, This sort of behavior is a big reason why each big country will feel that it must have its own PPE, vaccine, and medical products manufacturing capacity

    Because when you really need it, the EU, USA, China or Germany can limit or entirely cut off the things that you most desperately need from them. The past year has shown this.

  10. I’m not a fan of the EU, never have been, but much of the R&D money that went into this was from EU countries. The pharma companies run rings around governments. We hand them our money and they say they’ll make their ‘best effort’ to get the vaccine to us. It’s a joke.

  11. Pfizer declined an offer of US money for R&D on this, as they wanted to minimize the influence of international pressure politics ( at at time when the US was run by a madman )

    Moderna accepted maybe a $ 1 billion in R&D from the US ( small beer for such a thing )

    BioNTech I believe got research funding from Germany ( not the EU )

    It’s complicated.

  12. Google tells me that the US gave ( UK based, with research in Europe and the USA ) AstroZeneca $1 billion for vaccine research.

    I’d strongly endorse this funding by US, EU, Germany, etc, but the ” government has no role in healthcare ” gang would oppose it, preferring that we wait for the Tesco vaccine, which will run you £7.99 if you also buy a six pack of Carlsberg with the jab.

  13. .. preferring that we wait for the Tesco vaccine, which will run you £7.99 if you also buy a six pack of Carlsberg with the jab.

    Great, just make it a decent beer and I’m all in.

  14. I’d strongly endorse this funding by US, EU, Germany, etc, but the ” government has no role in healthcare ” gang would oppose it, preferring that we wait for the Tesco vaccine, which will run you £7.99 if you also buy a six pack of Carlsberg with the jab.


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