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Vaccine line heats up as EU doubles on threat to halt AstraZeneca exports to UK

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BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - March 17: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders (not seen) and European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton (not seen) hold a joint press conference on Covid vaccination. -19, in Brussels, Belgium on March 17, 2021. (Photo by Thierry Monasse / Pool / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Photo: Thierry Monasse / Pool / Anadolu Agency through Getty Images

The European Union has boosted the first level of block vaccines with drug maker Swedish-British drug maker AstraZeneca (AZN.L) while the continent’s inoculation program lags behind.

European Commission (EC) President Ursula von der Leyen renewed the threats over the weekend and declared a fierce war in the UK, threatening to block exports of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine to Britain.

Von der Leyen said the continent has the power to halt exports if the pharmaceutical firm fails to meet its EU supply obligations. “This is the message for AstraZeneca. You fulfill your contract with Europe before you start sending to other countries,” she told German newspapers.

The news comes after thirteen countries, including France, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands temporarily banned the use of the AstraZeneca stroke for concerns caused by blood clots, but many have resumed their programs after the European Medicines Agency declared it safe to use. Friday.

It is not the first time the EC president has threatened the UK amid vaccine squabbles. Earlier, von der Leyen said she would stop exporting coronavirus vaccines to Britain if Boris Johnson did not hand over the AstraZeneca strikes made in Britain to the EU.

Britain reached a milestone, announcing on Saturday that half of the UK’s adult population has now received the first dose of a COVID vaccine.

According to the latest government figures, more than 26 million people in the UK have made their first dose of the vaccine. However, the current total needs to be updated and is expected to be published later.

In Europe, only 12% of adults in France, Germany and Italy have been vaccinated while EU countries face a third wave of COVID-19.

The reality of a third wave is increasingly likely for countries such as France, the Netherlands and Italy, causing new restrictions in some EU countries, with France moving to its third blockade in 16 regions, including Paris.

READ MORE: Summer holidays in the UK ‘unlikely’ between vaccine chaos and fear of variants

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said on Sunday that the “adult thing” would be for the EC and some of the EU leaders not to “indulge in rhetoric but to recognize the obligations we all have”.

“We will all keep each other in our contracts. Making a vaccine is like baking a cake. We all have different ingredients and the European Commission will know this,” he added.

The opposition Labor Party also backed the government in the vaccine squabble, calling on Brussels to “calm down” its rhetoric on a possible export ban. Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy called von der Leyen’s comments “profoundly useless.”

On Friday, US drug maker Pfizer (PFE) also lined up, warning the EU not to block vaccines in the UK, as it relies heavily on vital ingredients from Yorkshire, reported Telegrafi.

A Pfizer spokesman said: “We have been clear with all stakeholders that the free movement of goods and supplies across borders is absolutely critical for Pfizer and the patients we serve.

We are working closely with governments around the world, including the UK Government and the European Commission, to ensure the supply of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine in accordance with agreed schedules.

Look: Raab erupts EU problems over threat to ban coronavirus vaccine exports

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