Boris Johson urged Britons to remain cautious about Covid as Europe suffers through the third wave of the pandemic since March 2020. Cases across the continent have been on the rise for the past two weeks, with France forced to impose a new strict lockdown on Paris and Germany considering a further extension of its third lockdown. Prime Minister Johnson remained positive about the steps forward the UK made with vaccinations but warned the impact of the third wave of the coronavirus crisis could soon reach the country.
Mr Johnson said: “Previous experience has taught us that when a wave hits our friends, it, I’m afraid, washes up on our shores, as well.
“I expect that we will feel those effects in due course.”
Asked about the risk to the UK’s jab programme amid EU threats to ban exports of the vaccine, Mr Johnson said he did not think that that would happen.
He added: “I’m reassured by talking to EU partners over the last few months, they don’t want to see blockades, I think that’s very very important.”
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The UK would be continuing with its vaccination programme, he said, confirming that the plan to ease restrictions in line with the roadmap was on track.
AstraZeneca dismissed Brussels’ concerns as they explained the UK is using a clause in its supply contract that prevents exports of its vaccines until the British market is fully served.
While France, Germany and Italy broadly support tighter export curbs on those who do not reciprocate, countries including the Netherlands, Belgium and Ireland are more cautious about cutting off the UK.
Brussels has so far blocked one shipment of vaccines to Australia.
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“What is produced in Halix has to go to the EU,” the official added.
AstraZeneca has not yet sought approval in the EU for Halix, but the official and a second EU source said the request was on its way. Without regulatory approval, vaccines produced at Halix cannot be used in the EU.
As of March 20, the UK had administered nearly 44 vaccines for every 100 people, whereas the EU had administered nearly 13 shots per 100 people, according to public data compiled by Our World In Data website.