Gransnet forums

News & politics

The E.U. And AstraZeneca row.

(363 Posts)
Urmstongran Wed 27-Jan-21 22:41:30

It seems to be escalating. It’s quite worrying.

From this my understanding is that EU supplies from AstraZeneca would be in place now if they had ordered like we did in May and the shortfall is because they didn't. On top of that they refused an offer of an extra 300 million jabs from Pfizer in favour of the French vaccine which won't be ready until late this year. In other words they cocked it up badly and now expect to hijack our vaccine. The arrogance is breathtaking.

And why was Ireland prevented from buying vaccines outside of the EU program.... When Germany was allowed to.?

Blossoming Wed 27-Jan-21 22:49:03

They also haven’t authorised use of the Astra Zeneca vaccine yet. Very poor behaviour.

I’m not anti-EU and I didn’t vote for Brexit, but I do worry that some Europeans will be looking to punish the UK.

nanna8 Wed 27-Jan-21 22:53:53

We hear a different story in Australia. Who knows where the truth lies? According to our news the Dutch and Belgians helped the uk out of a spot when they were short of the vaccine in the uk but now that the Europeans are short the uk won’t help them in return. Funny how things depend on where you are.

Urmstongran Wed 27-Jan-21 22:59:02

Isn’t it?

petra Wed 27-Jan-21 23:14:32

Germany will still have a problem when they do get the vaccine.

maddyone Thu 28-Jan-21 00:15:15

.....the Dutch and Belgians helped the UK out of a spot when they were short of the vaccine in the UK but now that the Europeans are short the UK won’t help them in return........

The reason that the EU is short of vaccine is because it took three full months more for the EU to actually sign any contract to get any vaccines. They did not help out the UK at all, the UK procured sufficient vaccine by signing contracts to ensure supply. Even so, vaccine is now not coming in as quickly as we would like because both Pfizer and AstraZenica are modifying their production lines in order to make more vaccines and supply them where ordered.

And why indeed was Ireland prevented from buying vaccines outside of the EU programme, when Germany was allowed to?
A very good question indeed!

Mamie Thu 28-Jan-21 05:08:00

David Allen Green who is an extremely well-informed procurement lawyer says he has no idea who has acted correctly in this as the relevant contracts have not been published. Unless anyone on here has been party to the contracts signed, I would venture to suggest that they are regurgitating xenophobic drivel from the gutter press.

grandMattie Thu 28-Jan-21 06:09:44

Well said, Mamie. I think the EU are using every trick in the book and some that aren't to show that Brexit isn't a good idea, so that no other country thinks they can go it alone.

As for the distribution, how can AZ give vaccines they don't have? Do they favour later contracts? Do they share proportionately what they have got? Unless one sees the contracts one can't really tell.

It would be very odd indeed if the EU contract said that they had to be favoured above all other orders!

Mamie Thu 28-Jan-21 06:33:06

You seem to have misunderstood my post grandMattie. We don't know what is in the contracts and we don't know who is right.
In terms of irresponsible and frankly inflammatory reporting, I am talking about elements of the British press. I have not seen anything in the French press (where I live) that expresses the same level of vitriol about this contractual dispute, as I read in the UK papers.
There is annoyance in the EU at what is believed to be a broken contract. AZ disputes this. The public does not know where the truth lies.
The solution to all this would be too publish all public procurement contracts that are funded by taxpayers.
That might bring a few other interesting things to light.

Mamie Thu 28-Jan-21 06:34:06 publish

Daisymae Thu 28-Jan-21 06:45:38

My understanding is that the plant in Belgium has produced less vaccine than expected, apparently this is not unusual and fluctuations are to be expected. The EU now expect Astra to make up the shortfall from the UK plants which started much earlier. The EU do seem to be using bullying tactics. I do wonder how they would have reacted if the boot had been on the other foot. I imagine that the UK would have been informed that it was a consequence of Brexit. Speaking as someone who was against leaving the EU. Obviously the UK would have contracts too.

Kandinsky Thu 28-Jan-21 07:12:29

EU showing themselves up for what they are. Bullies basically.
Makes me even more happy I voted leave.

( Although the EU isn’t really a union. it’s just France & Germany with all other countries doing what they’re told. )

Urmstongran Thu 28-Jan-21 07:22:29

Seems the MEP’s want to see copies of the contracts. Luckily, whatever the outcome the UK can now be nimble when it comes to future deals (of any kind).

Do you think Mamie that the French press are quiet because there might be some embarrassment over their own vaccine not being ready after all until the autumn? The EU invested heavily in it, placing huge orders and at the time, turning down 300 million extra doses of either Pfizer or AZ (can’t recall which one off hand) instead.

I feel for Europeans waiting for their jabs. France for example have only vaccinated one million people at present, Spain even less.

It was a wrong call by the EU over procurement sadly.

And they don’t even agree AZ is safe to administer by their standards until tomorrow. They didn’t find anything ‘unsafe’.

Casdon Thu 28-Jan-21 07:33:20

Worth reading this CNN article, which is more balanced than the UK press articles.

Mamie Thu 28-Jan-21 07:40:56

I think there was some chagrin about the Sanofi vaccine ages ago, but now they are using one of their facilities to make one of the others - Pfizer, I think.
The vaccination roll-out is interesting. It was a painfully slow start, but they have now vaccinated as many people since the beginning of January as the UK did in their first month, so time will tell. We are not eligible yet, but my friends who are in the over 75 group are being seen pretty quickly and have appointments three weeks later for second injections. Lots of local centres opened up and fully equipped buses for rural areas. Given that the pressure on ICU beds is below 50% locally and other treatment is continuing, we feel as comfortable as you can with the situation.
None of it is easy but the gloating from some sources makes me despair of humanity.

Firecracker123 Thu 28-Jan-21 09:12:47

A lighthearted view of the situation 😊

Alegrias1 Thu 28-Jan-21 09:15:41


Worth reading this CNN article, which is more balanced than the UK press articles.

Excellent article Casdon.

Firecracker123 Thu 28-Jan-21 09:22:41

Actually it was British taxpayers who funded research for the Oxford Vaccine £65.5 million.

Firecracker123 Thu 28-Jan-21 09:25:18

The funding announcement follows a global licensing agreement between Oxford University and AstraZeneca, the UK-based pharmaceutical company, for the commercialisation and manufacturing of their potential vaccine.

This means that, if the Oxford vaccine is successful, AstraZeneca will deliver 100 million doses in total worldwide.

Professor Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University, said: ‘The University of Oxford is immensely proud of the scientists at the Jenner Institute and the Oxford Vaccine Group who have worked tirelessly to discover and develop this vaccine in record time. We now have a partner in AstraZeneca who are ideally positioned to help us evaluate the vaccine, manufacture it and distribute it to UK citizens as well as to the rest of the world. They share our commitment to true global access to end this pandemic.’

Blossoming Thu 28-Jan-21 10:41:01

From yesterday’s Independent Inside Politics daily newsletter.

CRY OVER OUR OWN SUPPLY: The EU has told Covid vaccine producers they “must” deliver agreed supplies, as the anguished row over who-gets-what threatens to turn nasty. European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen vowed to tighten rules over exports to the UK. “They must honour their obligations,” she said of AstraZeneca and others. Germany is now pressing the European Commission to give member states new powers to block exports of vaccines, according to the FT. Some in Brussels believe that batches of AstraZeneca vaccines earmarked for the EU have “ended up in Britain”, according to unnamed EU diplomats. Paranoia? AstraZeneca says there’s simply no basis to these claims – insisting a slowdown in supply is simply due to factory problems. Boris Johnson urged Brussels to show “common sense”, while vaccine minister Nadhim Zawahi warned against “the dead end of vaccine nationalism”.

biba70 Thu 28-Jan-21 11:21:08


Actually it was British taxpayers who funded research for the Oxford Vaccine £65.5 million.

The EU paid £298,000,000 up front, back in August last year to help the UK build manufacturing capacity to make this vaccine in Britain.

The front pages of the gutter press in the UK today are utterly shameful. And then they will wonder why the EU is not cooperating on this, and on oter matters to do with customs, imports, exports, etc. Truly disgusting.

biba70 Thu 28-Jan-21 11:37:21

Ilovecheese Thu 28-Jan-21 11:42:10

I think if the people who voted for Brexit were secure that they made the right choice, they would not need to reassure themselves on threads like this.

Whitewavemark2 Thu 28-Jan-21 11:58:55

I think that those posting suggesting that as none of us have seen the contracts we don’t know the truth of the matter, are pretty much on the button and it is astounding how it comes once again down to whether you voted leave or not.

CoVid is a planetary issue is is not a nationalist issue, neither should the vaccine be a nationalist issue.

Until every country in the world is vaccinated, we are all at serious risk of the danger of mutation and the even greater danger of not having a vaccine to deal with it.

Frankly we all need to sit in our boxes until the world has been vaccinated to a very high percentage, before we begin to mix again thus preventing the covid virus from mutating into something quite dreadful.

We must as a species cooperate throughout the world ensuring every nation has sufficient vaccine to cover its population, it is entirely in our self interest to do so.

To argue with the EU makes absolutely zero sense and like shooting ourselves in the foot.

However, I am not clear that the U.K. government is arguing. As far as I understand and I am very happy to be corrected that for once our civil servants seem to have got it right by quickly ordered 100 million shots as well as contractually obliging Zeneca to keep to a schedule.

The schedule as far as I understand is something the EU failed to write into the contract.

Correct me if I’m wrong folks😄

GagaJo Thu 28-Jan-21 12:14:13

Here they come WWM...