Is the EU getting its “fair share” of vaccine doses? Not according to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen who has effectively threatened to block vaccine shipments to Britain unless the UK starts also shipping doses to the EU. She didn’t single out the UK in her remarks, but her meaning was crystal clear: Britain is taking without giving in return.

Europe has exported 41 Million vaccine doses since January, with the largest share (roughly 10 million doses) going to the UK. Britain, meanwhile, has apparently not exported any doses to the EU at all (though the numbers are rather opaque, and the UK doesn’t have an outright ban on vaccine exports in place). This has rankled European leaders, who are already under pressure over the slow pace of their vaccine roll-outs.

It doesn’t help that UK-EU relations have broken down over Brexit. UK entreaties for the EU to act like “grown-ups” ring hollow after Britain has already demonstrated its willingness to break international law whenever convenient. Nevertheless, commentators worry about vaccine nationalism turning into a “vaccine war” without any winners.

Should the EU block vaccine exports unless it ‘gets its fair share’? Is vaccine nationalism making it harder to tackle to pandemic? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers?

Image Credits: Flickr – Number 10 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

21 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar

    Emm..I’d like to say yes..but…I’m a’s not fair to the general public of the UK to deny them their life saving vaccines. Now if you asked me about the price of toilet roll exports from Europe to the UK or soaps and shampoos !! i’d say please deliver slowly and hike the price up(that’s a bit tit-for -tat, as that is what they have done to us in Ireland)!!! imagine someone asking you for 11 euro for 6 toilet rolls(best quality..that do the job well !! ) 11 euro OMG …

    • avatar

      Try using newspaper instead, after all it’s what the Irish times was invented for.

  2. avatar

    The EU haven’t exported them to UK….Astra Zeneca have….this is a private company honouring its contracts…in the same way that British companies have exported essential components to Pfizer in Europe to continue to manufacture their vaccine.Once you start using force majeure to interfere or block complex supply chains, the only losers will be citizens dying of the disease.

  3. avatar

    Why? Is it really the amount of vaccines that’s causing delays in the roll-out rather than bureaucratic inefficiency?

  4. avatar

    no, but it should seriously revise the contracts it made with the companies that fail to fulfill them. A nice option there is to force them to use facilities of other companies to manufacture vaccines- basically push the know-how outwards, another option is to address the logistics for the materials- you buy them, you provide them they just manufacture. It is a healthcare crisis, but contracts are contracts, and if you overpromised you need to cover it. Don’t turn this into a political conflict because of the public pressure. The most dangerous thing is adding a political crisis on top of a healthcare crisis with economic crisis forming up separately.

  5. avatar
    Michael Bowden

    The European Commission is guilty of one thing – naivety. It was a noble aim to mitigate the effect of 27 countries scrambling over each other to source vaccines and they achieved it. However, they forgot that such nobility would not be exercised by other countries, and as a result we are in the invidious position of seeing the British variant sweeping across a continent that does not have enough vaccine doses, whilst tens of millions are exported elsewhere, notably to Britain.
    No-one stopped that export whilst Britain was in the grip of its own epidemic these past 3 months and Britain has now vaccinated half its adult population.
    Isn’t it now the turn of European citizens as we descend into our latest flare-up of cases?

  6. avatar
    matthew johnston

    You don’t mention the EU willingness to break agreements or to bully a country that has troops deployed for your defence.

  7. avatar

    The EU should not block vaccines that the UK has bought lawfully.

    The key thing to remember in this vaccine argument is that the UK has taken no action to disadvantage the EU. The UK committed to funding development early and ordered early and that is it. The result of the UK’s early commitment and funding has meant it is a little further ahead in receipt of vaccines. The argument that the UK hasn’t exported any vaccines to the EU implying that the UK state is working against the EU is thoroughly inaccurate. the EU’s contract for UK origin vaccines is with AZ, AZ also has a contract with the UK, placed first which puts it ahead in the sequencing: “First come first serve”, despite the EU’s exclamation against it, is not some principle that applies in a butcher shop only, it is quite simply the fair and international standard way any contract involving a manufactured product is carried out, well understood in business worldwide and confirmed by the CEO of both AZ and Valneva.

    Secondly, if we look generally at UK contribution to Covid-19 vaccines, it more than meets its fair share by international comparison: UK funded development of a vaccine created by UK university. That vaccine is sold at cost during the pandemic – unlike every other Covid vaccine created thus far and, unlike many vaccines, AZ also setup manufacturing widely across the world to purposefully ensure access was widely available internationally (AZ vaccine manufactured in UK, EU, India, Australia, Japan and others) . The UK is also a significant contributor of vaccine components, as confirmed by Pfizer – the UK gives a substantial proportion of a key ingredient to Pfizer in Belgium and in turn gets a small proportion of finished vaccines in return.

  8. avatar
    catherine benning

    Should the EU block vaccine exports to Britain?

    This is an extraordinary stand to take. The UK is doing what the EU should have done for the last forty years and that is, put their own inhabitants goodwill before those outside of their borders. The European people pay their taxes to you to do just that. They vote for you to do just that. The idea of diversity or generosity toward others before those who have to rely on you to keep your promises toward them, is a ridiculous notion. Too many individuals from outside our borders have persuaded you to turn on those you have first duty towards.

    To now want to bring about the demise of the UK, by holding back vaccine previously paid for by the citizens of that country is a fools paradise. Are you unaware you will not be first in line for selection to produce for us again? This includes India of course. Trust me when I remind you we are capable of finding resources outside of Europe if we need to. Although, if I was PM my natural first instinct would be ‘home production’ on every level, beginning immediately. Initially to grow our own economy to be sure we survive as first world players and secondly to defend our country against the obvious ill will of those we saved from destruction in previous centuries. The resentment of our ability not something received with gratitude but instead with jealousy at our forethought and benevolence to have done so.

    Another look needs to be taken by the UK at our best interests in embracing Globalism in all its true potential horror for us all. Remove all who mean us no good. And make no bones about it. Revisit the map of historical survival before we are killed off as a people and culture entirely. No one will have us as first in the queue for anything, as they simply want to rustle what we do for ourselves before any thought, if at all, is put toward who is primary provider in this culture. This flawed move has raised it to the world mindset at last. We must diligently take this on board, as it is at our peril if the UK does not do that with vehemence. And quick.

  9. avatar

    If we really want to punish them we’ll export Von der Leyen and the rest of the brusselcrats.

  10. avatar
    EU Reform Proactive

    Who is, or should be the Judge when giants bicker?

    Should it be the politicians, the courts, journalists, the mainly disengaged voters, business leaders & advisers, or a neutral Ombudsman?

    • Is it may be about one’s mindset?

    • What is discussed in investment circles about AZ & Co?

    If the main reason is a global raw material shortage, resulting in the consequential dependency on them (by all have- not’s) to produce, buy or sell these vaccines in the promised quantities, time and rates- and the US possesses most of them- how much worth are these ever secretive kept EU contracts?

    Once committed to the forces of globalism- our & the EU’s fate is sealed. With the dependency on global suppliers & manufacturing, it is too late & naive to rely on “EU law & order”, cry foul, threaten sanctions or seek our advice (=implement direct democracy first).

    Too little is known about all EU secretive wheelings & dealings with these mega-corporations!

    Do you expect that all EU taxpayers should be patient with you & foot another EU-fiasco bill- or just pay a fair price for the Covid vaccines?

  11. avatar

    Well of course they should block them, how dare a country expose the EUs incompetence. You know I always suspected that Donald Trump was secretly running this circus.

  12. avatar

    Of course, EU ought to block vaccine export to Britain. Everyone can see this is a political plot that vaccines are deliberately being sent to 4 of the 5-eyes with vaccination rate above 30%, while EU has mounting death and infection, and barely vaccinated 11%. If EU cannot catch up with the vaccination rate, economic activities cannot resume, more people would be infected and more people would be dying, situation would be very chaotic.

  13. avatar
    Eva Jans

    It seems mostly British people are reacting to this question and of course they do not want a blockage. The British have the same deal with AZ as the EU, we should all get the AZ vaccines from the same factories in the UK and the EU. The UK is getting their vaccines according to the deal from those factories. But the EU is not getting their vaccines from the same factories as agreed. More so, the EU gets nothing from the UK factories. So why should the UK get any vaccines from factories in the EU? Or do the British feel that they are better than EU nationals and should they get vaccinated no matter what?

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      @ Eva Jans

      Then, don’t have your incompetent EU back room boys negotiate with our equally incompetent back room boys whilst we look for production deals in manufacturing. And do it in order to steal our tax payers money under false pretences! Which is what you have done. And you did it as blatant frauds. What our country wants to buy from outside our borders is our bloody business, not yours. We are a free entity and sovereign nation. Either deliver to us what we, as UK citizens ‘purchased’ from you, or, pay the money you stole back forthwith. Every penny of it. Or, get your arses kicked as up front robbers you are. Then remember, don’t come begging for our custom in future.

      For your information, a good percent of the British population are foreign born immigrants who find, here in the UK, they are first in line to be vaccinated for free, on UK tax payers benevolence. This includes those from the EU in their millions. Do you do that in Europe for us? Or, do you charge a fee for vaccination and health care in general? Under some scheme or other?

      And as a side line, Yes, we do deserve to be vaccinated if we want to, no matter what. And we are not looking to steal money from your citizens in order for vaccines to be available to us. We pay our way. You, though, clearly back theft to ensure you are taken care of, don’t ya? Want us British to pay for your safety, no matter what, don’t ya? Eighty years on from WW11 and nothing changes does it? How is it the British are seen as providers for every world wide, Tom, Dick and Harry? We are expected to accommodate the worlds thieves and beggars ad infinitum? Well, we are no longer willing to play the sucker.

  14. avatar

    Or if possible greatly reduce the nearly half part exported

  15. avatar

    If Britain was in the EU and getting it’s share of vaccines then the extra vaccines available to the rest would only be about 10% more. This is unnecessary aggravation.

  16. avatar

    Honestly, what she really should be doing is approving Russian and Chinese vaccines for use in EU, instead of letting pride get in the way of public health. Why fight over AstraZeneca, which is obviously associated with risk of blood clots, when you can have much safer and much more effective vaccines ?

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      @ Natasha

      In Holland the British, for some unknown reason, built ‘entirely’ with UK tax payers money, a factory to produce vaccines. Those factory managers now, under blackmail criminality, refusing to release the produce to our people. They have done this ‘after’ GB politicians invested hard earned tax cash. And these politicos did it without once looking into the best interests of our citizens. How can that be considered good use of our funds, or even common sense? Who were the people who went along with this deal? What was the motive? What are and where do these players interests lie?

      Why do British governments fund producers of health giving vaccine, and other health related items, in countries outside the UK? Why does a UK government consider it ‘safe’ for British citizens, without their general knowledge, to receive unknown entities related to their welfare, from outside their jurisdiction? Paid entirely by UK tax money and produced in a variety of places we cannot supervise. Including countries with hygiene related issues, as well as political instability? It appears this is done without once considering the fact, as is now obvious, of us being denied items previously paid for? Why is our government not more circumspect in its decision to put the UK population first? Not place them ‘at risk’ by using such an insecure outlet? Who is behind the idea of using other countries rather than our own ‘safe’ UK production line?

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