British Prime Minister to contact EU leaders over vaccine nationalism

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Key Borisgov
Boris Johnson Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

dpa/GNA – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is contacting EU leaders this week to try and prevent “vaccination nationalism” following a row over the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, according to a government minister.

Helen Whately, minister of state at the Health Department, said there was “speculation, some conjecture” and “an element of rhetoric” surrounding the export of vaccines to Britain from the European Union.

It comes after the bloc accused the company of failing to deliver on promised doses – some of which are produced in Britain.

The EU has claimed Britain had exported zero doses, while it has sent 10 million doses to its former member.

Last week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen threatened further export restrictions, which could target especially against AstraZeneca and Britain.

Whatley told the BBC on Monday it was important that the EU and other countries “should not follow vaccine nationalism or vaccine protectionism.”

“We expect the European Union to stick by their commitments and I’m sure the prime minister will be in contact with European counterparts – he speaks to European counterparts regularly- but I don’t think this debate is helpful to anybody,” she said.

“What matters is for all countries to be getting on and deploying and vaccinating their population.”

The commission is due to meet on Thursday to discuss potential tougher restrictions on vaccine exports from the bloc.

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