EU: Former health secretary grilled on stored vaccine doses
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Former French Health Secretary Nora Berra was questioned by broadcaster Nick Ferrari on why France is not using up millions of jabs lying in fridges as it battles a third wave of the Covid pandemic. The news emerged as Emmanuel Macron still has not locked down the country despite daily infections rising to over 26,000, with one person admitted to intensive care every 12 minutes. She turned the blame on AstraZeneca accusing the firm of not following their contract.
Nick Ferarri said: “What is the point in sending vaccines to your country so they can sit in your fridges?”
In response, the former health secretary defended France’s actions and instead blamed AstraZeneca for the failings
She said: “Ursula von der Leyen said it very clear that it’s a matter of reciprocity.
“In the contract, they (AstraZeneca) were supposed to deliver 100 million doses by the end of March.”
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She added: “Then in January it decreased to 30 million doses and now we are almost at the end of March and we received only 11 million doses.”
Mr Ferrari continued to press her on the fact that France is not delivering vaccines to the countries citizens despite being in the grip of a third covid wave.
Ms Berra said: “I can’t let you say that as you know many countries have suspended the vaccination programme.”
She added that “it’s a matter of safety” despite no evidence to suggest the vaccine causes blood clots.
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Nora Berra was then asked why the European Union are deciding to take aim at the U.K. and block vaccine delivery to the country despite AstraZeneca not having a link to the British Government.
Ms Berra said that it was not about government but instead about AstraZeneca “not fulfilling its commitments”.
She continued by saying “there is a contract” and the orders are not being “respected”.
And so as a result “the bloc has to take measures”.
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Ursula von der Leyen attempted to block AstraZeneca exports to the UK unless it gets ‘a fair share’.
The European Commission President warned countries who had been more successful in rolling out jabs could see their supply of vaccines from the continent cut.
Ministers in Britain reacted with outrage at the move by the European Union.
The temporary ban came despite reassurances from the European Medicine Agency and the World Health Organisation that blood clots were not caused by the vaccine.
The UK Government insisted the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe to use as the benefits “outweigh the risk” highlighted by European member states about potential clotting.
As of March 17, more than 25 million people in the UK have received a first dose of the Covid vaccine.
On Thursday, it was reported that 1.7million AstraZeneca doses have been delayed in the UK for re-testing as supply is pushed back.
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