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After internal wrangling over how to please Paris, Eurocrats agreed to buy millions of doses of the French-made Sanofi jab that won’t be ready for approval before October next year after a significant production setback. As a result officials working on the Brussels-led procurement scheme shunned buying 200 million more doses of the German BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, despite evidence it is 95 percent effective against COVID-19. The European Commission was accused of prioritising EU unity over the health of the bloc’s some 450 million citizens.
German MEP Nicolaus Fest fumed: “The EU’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been nothing short of a farce from the beginning.
“By opting out of the EU’s vaccination scheme, not only have the UK already started vaccinations well ahead of the EU, they have also secured more doses of this essential vaccine per person.
“This is another own goal for EU solidarity and further evidence that the UK is already reaping the benefits of independence.”
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Romanian MEP Cristian Terhes added: “European Unity is not a strength when it is slow, cumbersome and bureaucratic; indeed it kills when it puts utopian ideologies over letting nation states protect their own citizens and best interests.
“EU bureaucracy cannot quickly satisfy 27 different national interests at the same time, which is why giving more power of decision to this supra-national bureaucracy is not the solution to the problems that the EU states are facing.”
The Commission denied claims Paris had lobbied it to buy more than 300 million jabs from Sanofi.
Downing Street earlier this year rejected an invitation to join the EU’s bumbling vaccine scheme that would have prevented the UK pursuing the most successful jabs.
Labour Party and Liberal Democrats called for Britain to join the procurement programme and accused the Government of playing Brexit politics by refusing to do so.
Brussels is already lagging behind Britain in rolling out a vaccine after EU regulators only today rubber-stamped the Pfizer jab, which has already been received by more than 350,000 Britons.
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The European Medicines Agency agreed to fast-track its processes amid concerns in Germany that delays could cost thousands of lives in the country.
Angela Merkel has “read the riot act” to fellow EU leaders about the bloc’s slow response, which has caused “anger and irritation” in Berlin.
Her coalition partners have also lamented the delay and called on the Chancellor to quit the EU’s vaccine programmes.
But a vaccine is not expected to be ready for use in any EU state before the end of the month.
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Boris Johnson deliberately broke away from the EMA’s control for vaccine authorisation in October – meaning the UK could approve the jack quicker.
Any European capital is free to do this but Brussels has ordered its 27 states to be united behind its centralised approach.
Germany has publicly slated the diktat for slowing down its abilities to vaccinate millions of Germans.
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