Coronavirus vaccine: First dose figures surpass 46 million
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The warning follows reports AstraZeneca is considering stepping back from future work on vaccinations, after becoming embroiled in a bitter row with Brussels over its COVID-19 jab. Writing for the Daily Telegraph, economist Julian Jessop argued Brussels deserves “plenty of stick” for its treatment of the company.
He said: “AstraZeneca’s experience still reflects badly on many politicians and policy-makers, especially in Europe.
“At every stage, certain national governments, and the European Commission itself, appear to have done their best to make life as difficult as possible for those trying to help.
“The EU’s vaccine rollout has been undermined by nationalism and protectionism.
“Some politicians – notably President Macron – seemed to go out of their way to undermine confidence in the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Macron has been accused of acting to “undermine confidence” in the AstraZeneca jab (Image: GETTY)
Millions of people in the UK have received the AstraZeneca jab (Image: GETTY)
“Perhaps this was just incompetence (there has been no shortage of that in the UK either). But I’m not alone in wondering if he might have responded differently if the vaccine had been created in Paris, rather than Oxford.”
AstraZeneca partnered with Oxford University to build a highly successful coronavirus vaccine, which has been given to millions of people in the UK.
Unlike some of its rivals, the company sold the jabs at cost-price making “no profit” from the transactions.
In April the EU launched legal action against AstraZeneca, arguing it had failed to meet its contract for coronavirus vaccines.
Boris Johnson with AstraZeneca vaccine jabs (Image: GETTY)
The British-Swedish company hit back, claiming the litigation is “without merit” and insisting they delivered to the EU “in line with our forecast”.
Controversially the AstraZeneca vaccine came under repeated attack from senior European leaders, including French President Mr Macron.
In March the French president falsely claimed the jab is “almost ineffective” in the over-65s.
This caused fury in London, with British officials worrying senior EU figures were undermining public trust in the vaccine.
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A monk receiving the AstraZeneca jab in Thailand (Image: GETTY)
An AstraZeneca dose being given in Fiji (Image: GETTY)
According to the Daily Telegraph, AstraZeneca is now “exploring options” for its coronavirus vaccine business, which could lead to a trade sale.
Ruud Dobber, who leads AstraZeneca’s biopharmaceuticals team, has admitted the company is “exploring different options” over its future work on vaccines.
Pharmaceutical industry expert Hannah Bolland warned the company could end up leaving the sector.
She commented: “The damage caused by Europe’s assault on AstraZeneca is now becoming clear.
The UK has recorded over 129,000 coronavirus deaths (Image: EXPRESS )
“The company’s decision to make its jab without taking a profit has squeezed margins.
“The company is now weighing up whether it wants a future in vaccines at all.”
On Friday UK authorities recorded another 225,565 coronavirus vaccines around the country.
Nearly 47 million Britons have received at least one COVID-19 jab, with just under 40 million now fully vaccinated.
The UK is battling the highly infectious Delta Covid variant (Image: GETTY)
Britain recorded 29,622 new coronavirus cases on Friday, along with 68 related deaths.
In total over 128,000 deaths across the UK has been classed as coronavirus related, since the pandemic began.
This means the death took place within 28-days of the patient testing positive for Covid.