The deployment of the vaccine in the EU has been the equivalent of the lifesaving system since its inception.
Likewise, the UK’s Brexit rollout has also been about sustaining life, if not in a hospital bed immediately adjacent to that in the EU – the brotherly love between the two doesn’t quite match. what the doctor may have prescribed.
When it comes to camouflaging their respective debacles with spin and PR, the UK has an easier time, as all it has to do is make Brussels the villain responsible for its plight in the face of the Brexit.
The UK’s public relations strategy has another tactic besides blaming Brussels, which is to use a megaphone at every opportunity to insist that leaving the EU has enabled it to succeed in the vaccine deployment that eluded the bureaucratic EU.
The EU does not easily have a supposedly equivalent villain in its jurisdiction. An organization made up of 27 member nation states, with disparate and often incompatible interests, and lacking the fiscal weight and freedom of action of a nation state, may have several goals to pursue in finding a person. responsible for the current situation in the EU.
The countries of the periphery of the EU, mainly from the former Soviet bloc, blame Brussels. Brussels, in turn, is struggling within itself to assign the blame. European Commission (EC) President Ursula von der Leyen has been widely criticized – a German woman, and Germany is the largest country in the EU, she has been accused by some EU members of being too preoccupied with “making Germany happy”.
The only recourse left for Brussels in this fake war is to keep the UK’s feet under the proverbial fire when it comes to enforcing the terms of the Brexit deal it had with the UK. United.
But for now, Brexit issues are not at the forefront of public attention in the EU and UK. The EU has the biggest problem dealing with the pandemic on its plate, and the UK would rather distract from its successful vaccine rollout than dwell on the internal impact of its Brexit fiasco.
Meanwhile, the EU has wrongly proposed a stricter regime to limit vaccine supplies to countries less severely affected by the pandemic.
Admitting that this is a Covid-19 ‘hotspot’, the EC said Wednesday last week that it may not approve exports to countries that have made more progress in deploying vaccines or where the “epidemiological situation” is more satisfactory than that of the EU.
The EC announced this step during a disagreement with AstraZeneca over vaccine supply, with the EC complaining that the UK is importing doses from Europe without exporting them back.
EC Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said 10 million doses had been moved from the EU to the UK while “zero doses” had returned from UK factories.
The disparity in the rate of vaccine inoculations between the United Kingdom and the United Kingdom is glaring: in the EU, just over 11% of adults received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine while in United Kingdom the figure is over 54%.
The European continent is also experiencing a third wave of Covid infections as the UK returns from a winter lockdown.
The rate of coronavirus infection in Spain fell last Friday to 138.6 per 100,000 people from 134 the day before, the Spanish Ministry of Health reported.
Poland last week reported a new daily record of 35,143 coronavirus cases, amid a record number of infections for the third day in a row.
Last week, data from the French Ministry of Health showed the number of people in intensive care units with Covid-19 increased by 57 to a high of 4,766 in 2021.
Reuters reports that Germany has issued Covid travel warnings for several European countries, including neighboring France, Austria, Denmark and the Czech Republic.
Travelers to Germany from countries on the list are required to provide a negative coronavirus test dated within 48 hours upon arrival in Germany. They will also be quarantined for 10 days, although this period may be shortened if they get a second negative test after 5 days.
However, the EU’s proposed cut in vaccine exports, poorly thought out from the start, was quickly scrapped in the face of an immediate setback by the EU itself.
Bernd Lange, chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade, criticized the planned restrictions, warning that it could have consequences for the EU’s vaccination efforts. EU “.
Even Jean-Claude Juncker, until 2019 the head of the EC (and before this Luxembourg Prime Minister), criticized the EU for being too careful in its vaccine purchases and for having engaged in an unnecessary dispute with the United Kingdom.
Juncker, legendary for his loud drinking of wine at summit meetings and his resulting Yeltsin-like antics (e.g. slapping other summit attendees in a supposed show of camaraderie, and needing to be whisked away in a wheelchair after being drunk. stupor), says soberly:
“I would like Member States and the Commission to step up efforts to provide vaccines to everyone in the European Union…. Britain is ahead for various reasons, because Britain made the decision to have an emergency decision-making approach when the European Union, Commission and member states were more aware of their budget… We were too careful ”.
Juncker’s alcoholic capers are sorely missed by some of us. Eurocrats tend to be a bunch of gray suits, and Juncker’s carnival conduct at the top was a welcome laugh for anyone with a moderately cynical disposition.
Even so, Juncker’s current response to the pandemic is perfect.
EU vaccine procurement was stalled for more than 2 months in 2020 by a number of Member States refusing to accept their full share of vaccine supply because they feared they would have to spend money. money for a product that might prove ineffective.
The EU vaccine approval process was further slowed down by concerns during negotiations with suppliers over costs, as well as a desire to avoid legal liability if the vaccines were found to be unsafe for those vaccinated.
Meanwhile, the UK (and US), with a much less cumbersome approval process, have ramped up their vaccine purchases.
The EU’s swift overthrow of its misguided limitation on vaccine exports to the UK, however, did not end this now highly politicized vaccine dispute.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the UK would struggle to procure second Covid inoculations as its success was due to continuing with the first doses, without getting the seconds doses necessary for complete vaccination of its population.
The UK government responded by saying it had enough supplies, despite the ‘challenges’, to give people their second doses within its 12 week deadline – the UK chose the extended deadline for the second dose in order to ‘administer a first dose to a larger segment of the population.
However, vaccine production is now on a global scale, and last week the Indian government introduced a 2-3 month ban on vaccine exports to ensure adequate supplies to deal with its own growing pandemic. of Covid.
India’s decision to cut vaccine exports will delay the shipment of 5 million doses to the UK. This upcoming shortage will add another month to the UK’s vaccination schedule, and vaccines will not be made available to those under 50 until May 1.
This of course has nothing to do with the shenanigans between the EU and the UK, as well as the devastating unavailability of vaccines in the world’s poorest countries, which now have health and medical resources. most limited to cope with their Covid crises.
“Vaccine nationalism” is therefore a game for the richer countries, and the poorest of the world are doomed to be its spectators.
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