EU chief warns Britain will get 'ZERO' AstraZeneca jabs until supplies are met saying ‘there’s NOTHING to negotiate'
BRITAIN has been told it will get “zero” supplies of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine made in the EU until the company fulfils its commitments to the bloc.
The warning came from top Eurocrat Thierry Breton and it comes as the World Health Organisation slammed the “unacceptably slow” pace of Brussels’ jab rollout.
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AstraZeneca has been at the heart of vaccine dispute between the UK and EU, which has accused the company of failing to fulfil its commitments to the bloc.
At the same time, millions of the jabs sit in warehouses across the continent as EU leaders attempt to repair the self-inflicted damage caused their baseless claims about its safety and effectiveness.
As talks continue between the UK and the EU internal market commissioner Breton insisted “there is nothing to negotiate” between the two parties.
He said “zero” jabs would be shipped across the Channel if the company failed to meet its commitments to the bloc, the Financial Times reports.
Breton said production from the Seneffe plant in Belgium and the Halix factory in the Netherlands “more or less” matches AstraZeneca’s commitments to Brussels, and so must be reserved for the EU.
He said it if AstraZeneca “does more, we don’t have any issue, but as long as it doesn’t deliver its commitment to us, the doses stay in Europe”.
The only exception would be for Covax, the international vaccine scheme aimed mainly at poorer countries.
Appearing to slam the door on compromise he said: “There is no negotiation.”
Talks are ongoing between top British diplomat Sir Tim Barrow and EU chief Ursula von der Leyen's top official Stephanie Riso.
The EU recently threatened to do whatever it takes to secure supplies of the vaccine.
A senior official in London said: “Such comments are disappointing. The only way we are going to beat this pandemic together is by finding a win-win.”
Meanwhile it’s emerged the EU refused to invest in the Halix plant, at Leiden, the factory at the centre of the vaccine war.
Dutch PM Mark Rutte turned down a plea from Oxford University for £8.5m in funding to boost production of the AstraZeneca jab on the continent.
When the request was made, at the start of the pandemic in April last year, the UK had already pumped more than £21m into the plant.
In a letter to the Dutch government, seen by broadcaster NOS, experts at Oxford even predicted the EU would face supply shortages this year if it didn't act.
They wrote: "There will likely be enormous demand for vaccines if they pass the tests successfully.
"Most likely the quantities of available vaccines will be limited for several months. To avoid major delays production capacity must now be increased."
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