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HDA UK Media and Political Bulletin – 11 March 2021

Media Summary

UK and EU Vaccine Update – 11 March 2021

Tensions have risen between UK and EU leaders this week after European Council President Mr Michel claimed that: “The United Kingdom and the United States have imposed an outright ban on the export of vaccines or vaccine components produced on their territory.”

This latest disagreement follows a high-profile fall-out in January, when the EU briefly attempted to trigger Article 16 of the Brexit withdrawal agreement’s protocol to impose controls on the supply of vaccines into Northern Ireland. Brussels swiftly backtracked and apologised after coming in for heavy criticism over the move. UK-EU relations have run into trouble since then over Downing Street’s decision to unilaterally extend the grace period for fully implementing protocol arrangements contained in the Brexit agreement.

The UK is the biggest recipient of reported EU vaccine exports, securing 9.1m doses under the bloc’s authorisation scheme that came into force on January 30. EU controls were put in place after the bloc struggled to secure adequate volumes of vaccines for member states.

 

UK denies vaccine nationalism

The UK Prime Minister has denied the accusations made by Charles Michel that Britain has introduced an “outright ban” on vaccine exports. “Let me be clear: we have not blocked the export of a single COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine components” Boris Johnson told the House of Commons on Wednesday. Read more in Sky News.

The UK Foreign Office summoned Nicole Mannion, Deputy Ambassador of the EU to the UK and Charge d’affaires at the EU Delegation to the UK, for “further discussions” on the dispute on Wednesday. Read more in the Independent.

EU challenges UK to show vaccine export data

The European Commission has now acknowledged no formal ban is in place, but EU officials noted that Mr Michel was drawing attention to the fact that no vaccines have so far been sent from the UK to the bloc. Mr Michel said on Wednesday that the UK government should disclose data on the number of Coronavirus vaccines Britain ships internationally. Read more in The Express and the Financial Times.

Meanwhile, the EU’s ambassador to the UK denied the bloc is engaging in “vaccine nationalism” but similarly demanded more transparency from Britain as tensions simmer over the export of Coronavirus jabs. “I refute completely the accusation that the EU is protectionist or has engaged in vaccine nationalism,” João Vale de Almeida told British broadcaster ITV’s Robert Peston. The EU has been criticized and at times accused of protectionism over a new vaccine export control mechanism it says is intended to ensure suppliers are fulfilling their contractual obligations. Read more in Politico.

 

Concerns raised over impact of Brexit EU rules on medicines delivery to Northern Ireland

Concerns have been raised about the impact of Brexit on the delivery of medicines at the end of this year. TUV leader Jim Allister sought clarity from Northern Irish Health Minister Robin Swann on the issue and warned it could have serious implications for future vaccine rollout if Northern Ireland is tied to the EU vaccination programme. In response to a written question, Mr Swann said that Northern Ireland was only part of the UK’s vaccine rollout because of a year-long grace period stipulated by the protocol.

Mr Allister said the Health Minister’s response showed that “in simple terms, Northern Ireland is only able to benefit from the UK’s successful vaccine rollout now because of a grace period. But for the grace period, we would be tied to the failed and failing EU policy on vaccination.” Read more in The Irish News.

 

EU set to approve Johnson & Johnson vaccine today

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is expected to get the green light today from the European Medicines Agency. The one-shot jab has already been approved in the United States and has a 66% efficacy rate. However, despite the European Commission securing a minimum of 200 million doses, Johnson & Johnson has not committed to any shipments until the second quarter of the year — meaning at least a three-week lag between the EU’s approval and Johnson & Johnson’s first deliveries. Read more in Politico.

 

Parliamentary Coverage

There was no parliamentary coverage today.

 

Full Coverage

UK and EU Vaccine Update – 11 March 2021

Tensions have risen between UK and EU leaders this week after European Council President Mr Michel claimed that: “The United Kingdom and the United States have imposed an outright ban on the export of vaccines or vaccine components produced on their territory.”

This latest disagreement follows a high-profile fall-out in January, when the EU briefly attempted to trigger Article 16 of the Brexit withdrawal agreement’s protocol to impose controls on the supply of vaccines into Northern Ireland. Brussels swiftly backtracked and apologised after coming in for heavy criticism over the move. UK-EU relations have run into trouble since then over Downing Street’s decision to unilaterally extend the grace period for fully implementing protocol arrangements contained in the Brexit agreement.

The UK is the biggest recipient of reported EU vaccine exports, securing 9.1m doses under the bloc’s authorisation scheme that came into force on January 30. EU controls were put in place after the bloc struggled to secure adequate volumes of vaccines for member states.

UK denies vaccine nationalism

The UK Prime Minister has denied the accusations made by Charles Michel that Britain has introduced an “outright ban” on vaccine exports. “Let me be clear: we have not blocked the export of a single COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine components” Boris Johnson told the House of Commons on Wednesday. Read more in Sky News.

The UK Foreign Office summoned Nicole Mannion, Deputy Ambassador of the EU to the UK and Charge d’affaires at the EU Delegation to the UK, for “further discussions” on the dispute on Wednesday. Read more in the Independent.

EU challenges UK to show vaccine export data

The European Commission has now acknowledged no formal ban is in place, but EU officials noted that Mr Michel was drawing attention to the fact that no vaccines have so far been sent from the UK to the bloc. Mr Michel said on Wednesday that the UK government should disclose data on the number of Coronavirus vaccines Britain ships internationally. Read more in The Express and the Financial Times.

Meanwhile, the EU’s ambassador to the UK denied the bloc is engaging in “vaccine nationalism” but similarly demanded more transparency from Britain as tensions simmer over the export of Coronavirus jabs. “I refute completely the accusation that the EU is protectionist or has engaged in vaccine nationalism,” João Vale de Almeida told ITV’s Robert Peston. Read more in Politico.

Concerns raised over impact of Brexit EU rules on medicines delivery to Northern Ireland

Concerns have been raised about the impact of Brexit on the delivery of medicines into Northern Ireland at the end of this year. TUV leader Jim Allister sought clarity from Northern Irish Health Minister Robin Swann on the issue and warned it could have serious implications for future vaccine rollout if Northern Ireland is tied to the EU vaccination programme. In response to a written question, Mr Swann said that Northern Ireland was only part of the UK’s vaccine rollout because of a year-long grace period stipulated by the protocol.

Mr Allister said the Health Minister’s response showed that “in simple terms, Northern Ireland is only able to benefit from the UK’s successful vaccine rollout now because of a grace period. But for the grace period, we would be tied to the failed and failing EU policy on vaccination.” Read more in The Irish News.

EU set to approve Johnson & Johnson vaccine today

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is expected to get the green light today from the European Medicines Agency. The one-shot jab has already been approved in the United States and has a 66% efficacy rate. However, despite the European Commission securing a minimum of 200 million doses, Johnson & Johnson has not committed to any shipments until the second quarter of the year — meaning at least a three-week lag between the EU’s approval and Johnson & Johnson’s first deliveries. Read more in Politico.

HDA UK Media and Political Bulletin – 11 March 2021

From Factory to Pharmacy

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