Covid

The UK will not join the European Union (EU)’s COVID-19 vaccine program because it will have no say on negotiations with vaccine suppliers or on prices, UK’s ambassador to the EU Tim Barrow said Friday.

In his letter to the European Commission, Barrow said that the Commission has confirmed it is not possible for the UK to pursue parallel negotiations with potential vaccine suppliers.

“The UK would be required to stop its negotiations with manufacturers with which the EU launched negotiations,” he said.

The Commission has also confirmed that it is not “possible for the UK to have a role in the governance shaping decisions on which manufacturers to negotiate with, or the price, volume and delivery schedule negotiated,” said Barrow. Despite the decision, the UK government said it is still committed to strengthening collaboration with the EU outside the framework.

In mid-June, the EU announced that the bloc was planning to accelerate the development of vaccines against COVID-19 through advance purchase agreements with promising medical companies.

In return for the right to buy a specified number of vaccine doses in a given timeframe, the Commission will finance part of the upfront costs faced by vaccine producers. Funding provided will be considered as a down-payment on the vaccines that will actually be purchased by the EU’s member states.

“Joint action at EU level will allow all Member States to increase the likelihood of finding an effective vaccine, and to secure the necessary volumes for our citizens at a good price,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a video statement on June 17.

Von der Leyen said the Commission supports the idea of universal and affordable access to vaccines, “especially for the most vulnerable countries, who struggle to secure enough vaccine for their people on the global market.”

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