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'Global focus' Delays in AstraZeneca vaccine hugely disappointing, Mairead McGuinness says

Ms McGuinness also added that there must be a global focus on the production and supply of vaccinations.

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Understanding: Mairead McGuinness said talks were 'in a good place'. Photo: Delmi Alvarez/European Commission/Bloomberg

Understanding: Mairead McGuinness said talks were 'in a good place'. Photo: Delmi Alvarez/European Commission/Bloomberg

Understanding: Mairead McGuinness said talks were 'in a good place'. Photo: Delmi Alvarez/European Commission/Bloomberg

The delays in deliveries of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine have been hugely disappointing, EU financial services commissioner Mairead McGuinness said today.

Ms McGuinness also added that there must be a global focus on the production and supply of vaccinations.

“European citizens are growing angry and upset that the vaccine rollout is not happening as rapidly as we had anticipated,” she said in an interview on BBC's Andrew Marr programme.

Both the UK and the EU have separate contracts with AstraZeneca, and Ms McGuinness said it’s her understanding that they’ve been supplying the UK with vaccines, but not the trading bloc.

“We are supplying the UK with other vaccines,” she said. “So I think this is about openness and transparency and addressing citizens concerns. It is about nothing else.

“This idea of wars and nationalism, I really want to stress to take that off the table. Europe has been international in its approach on vaccines.”

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen has previously threatened to stop exporting vaccines to the UK. In response to this, Pfizer has warned the EU that they should back down from such threats, saying they depend on the UK “heavily” for some of the vaccine’s vital ingredients.

UK defence secretary Ben Wallace similarly warned that this may be counterproductive.

“The one thing we know about vaccine production and manufacture is that it is collaborative,” he told Sky News.

“They would undermine not only their own citizens' chances of having a proper vaccine programme, but also many other countries around the world with the reputational damage for the EU which they would find very hard to change over the short-term.”

Ms McGuinness defended the EU, saying again the EU’s decisions as of late have nothing to do with “vaccine nationalism”. Moreover, she discussed the EU’s shaky response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Frankly none of us have had a great Covid,” she told the BBC's Andrew Marr programme.

“I think all of us should put our hands up and say we were not prepared for this global pandemic, we did not do our best at the beginning but we are doing our best now to protect our citizens. That is exactly where Europe is focused on.

“That the world has literally stopped turning. And all the things we took for granted like a meal out, summer holidays, seeing family have been destroyed because of an invisible virus. And we were not ready for it, globally, not just in Europe.”

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Irish Independent


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