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Brussels has decided to impose a mechanism on Friday under which EU countries will be able to block vaccine exports, two EU officials said Thursday […]

Under the European Commission’s plan, the EU will instruct its customs authorities to block vaccine exports unless they have a prior authorization. The scheme will need to be signed off by experts from the 27 member countries, at a session also expected on Friday.

The EU has a dispute with a company about production problems at its plant in Belgium. Therefore it will seize vaccines from that firm, and a completely different firm, that have been sold to the UK. As a result thousands of elderly and vulnerable Britons will die.

If they go ahead with this then UK/EU relations can never be good. They will always be tainted.

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22 thoughts on “ZEALOTRY

  1. But surely the much-trumpeted “free trade deal” signed by “Boris” has a clause in it preventing such unilateral action by the Germans EU?

    And the UK can of course retaliate by blocking medicine exports to the EU. If we’re going to play stupid games.

  2. If this is right the embargo will only delay the UK vaccination programme by six weeks. But it will undoubtedly be a huge setback to diplomatic relations with the EU and could have serious implications for future trading. But the EU could soon reget its belligerence:

    “Should the UK become reliant on home-produced vaccines, securing herd immunity through the vaccination of 75% of the population could be delayed by nearly two months from 14 July to 1 September putting thousands of lives in danger, according to analysis by the data analytics firm Airfinity shared with the Guardian.

    The European federation of pharmaceutical industries and associations warned that the commission plan could lead to a breakdown of global supply of vaccines. “Global supply chains are key to delivering vaccines to protect citizens … Risking retaliatory measures from other regions at this crucial moment in the fight against Covid-19 is not in anyone’s best interest,” the industry group said.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jan/28/belgium-launches-investigation-of-astrazeneca-vaccine-plant

  3. There will be plenty of support for this action in EU countries. And I daresay the BBC will be able to find at least one pro-EU Brit for the morning news programmes.

    Watch out for a backlash from Australia which will also be hit by the Pfizer export embargo.

  4. This is beyond dirty.

    So, yes, I want to hear some more praise for outsourcing medical products and PPE and even now vaccines to unreliable foreign countries.

    Save a few quid when the sun shines, and are abandoned in your hour of need. Such a deal

  5. Thanks to the AZ-Oxford vaccine being manufactured in Wales the UK is not dependent on “our friends” in the EU. Hopefully this will be a lesson learnt.

  6. I don’t know what small population countries like Canada Taiwan and Australia are supposed to do when big countries pull things like this.

    And again…the US under Trump was going to do the same thing.

    So the small population countries need to negotiate very precise terms with the untrustworthy, devious big nations who may abandon you if they choose to.

    Big Pharma not the bad guy here – big countries / blocs are.

  7. I just read the linked article.

    Both the USA and EU are restricting vaccine imports to Canada!

    I didn’t realize that the US went through with it.

    So the US is restricting oil imports from Canada and is restricting vaccine exports to Canada. The Trump / Biden whipsaw.

    Please tell me again what a great ally the US is.

  8. The vaccine wars were inevitable. No country is going to priortise any other country ahead of its own citizens. If that means export embargoes and forcing companies like Pfizer to break its contract with the UK that’s what will happen. It’s every country for itself.

    But we should be helping the poor countries to get vaccinated, out of pure self-interest. Because the longer that the virus rages in unvaccinated populations the greater the risk that it will evolve a strain that defeats our vaccines. And even if the vaccines can be adjusted quickly we could be faced with having to lockdown and innoculate everyone again. Groundhog Day.

  9. More good news on vaccines for the UK tonight:

    “A new coronavirus vaccine has been shown to be 89.3% effective in large-scale UK trials. The Novavax jab is the first to show it is effective against the new variant of the virus discovered in the UK, the BBC’s medical editor Fergus Walsh said. The PM welcomed the “good news” and said the UK’s medicines regulator would now assess the vaccine. The UK has secured 60 million doses of the jab, which will be made in Stockton-on-Tees. The doses are expected to be delivered in the second half of this year, if approved for use by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the government said.”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-55850352

  10. Over 32,000 Americans have lost their lives from covid since Biden took office. I thought he had a plan?

  11. //No country is going to priortise any other country ahead of its own citizens//

    Well, Germany at least did.

  12. I’ve always been a supporter of the EU and I voted remain.
    But I genuinely can’t believe this despicable move.
    It actually looks to me, like the EU are trying to deflect blame on to the UK for their own incompetence.

  13. Though it is a two-way fight. The EU are now saying that, without approval, vaccines cannot be sent from the EU to other countries. However the UK are also preventing AstraZeneca from exporting UK-made vaccines to the EU. Now the UK’s argument is that their contract stipulates that, while the EU are arguing that AstraZeneca included UK-made vaccines in their EU contract as well.

    So the EU’s argument is two-fold. Firstly, by exporting vaccines rather than delivering, as agreed, to the EU, AstraZeneca are not engaging in the best reasonable effort to supply the EU their contractually agreed doses. And secondly, by refusing to make up the shortfall in all their production plants and instead only in EU based production plants, AstraZeneca are not engaging in the best reasonable effort to supply the EU their contractually agreed doses.

    So, while I’m utterly opposed to vaccine nationalism (from the US, from the UK, from the EU, from anyone truthfully) at the heart of this is a private company who are reneging on commitments they made in a legally binding contract. While the actions of the US, the UK and the EU have been appalling the blame lies almost squarely with AstraZeneca. If AstraZeneca had done their job, and lived up to their contact, then this could have been avoided. As soon as they put governments into this position it was always going to cause vaccine nationalism.

  14. These vaccines are not easy to make

    Why would anyone think there would never be any production problems?

    Very easy for governments to criticize and second guess “big pharma “

    —-

    All of this sounds like a good reason for Pharma companies to build Any new plants in countries that promise never to interfere in distribution of the products made there. The EU and USA are politically unreliable.

  15. “All of this sounds like a good reason for Pharma companies to build Any new plants in countries that promise never to interfere in distribution of the products made there. The EU and USA are politically unreliable.”

    Except that pharma companies want interference. They want the governments in their favour, to give them preferential access to grants, to facilities, to universities, they want special treatment. Which is fine. What sector doesn’t? But that comes with a cost.

    He who pays the piper picks the tune. And is AstraZeneca going to give back the £1.5 billion in public funding they got to develop this vaccine?

    “Why would anyone think there would never be any production problems?”

    There were going to be production problems. But if you negotiate a deal that you then can’t deliver it is going to have problems. If the reason you can’t deliver it is because of production problems then that is an issue. If, from the EU’s point of view, you can’t deliver it because of a combination of production problems and you prioritising other places ahead of the EU, then that is going to cause a bigger issue.

    If AstraZeneca felt that there was a realistic chance that they couldn’t deliver on their contract why did they sign it in the first place?

  16. All reasons to stay far away from manufacturing in the EU.

    Who needs that. If you do business there, the government is your partner, like it or not, even more than in the USA.

  17. I think when it comes to these sorts of industries the governments act in that manner no matter where it is. I can’t think of a society that has the education system and infrastructure needed to sustain industries like the pharmaceutical industry that wouldn’t do this. Pharmaceuticals have become a major prestige industry. And so governments all shift into heavy protectionism and interference and support when it comes to them.

    It isn’t a US/EU problem. The UK does it. Canada does it. Japan does it.

  18. Noted.

    ( Not aware that Canada had a pharmaceutical industry, not a dig, just never heard of it )

  19. They don’t but they would behave in a similar manner in other prestige industries, particularly in Canada’s case the aerospace industy.

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