Irish Examiner Saturday

UK stole a march on EU with vaccines

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Re. A Leavy’s letter, ‘Praise of UK is undeserved’, dated April 7.

May I begin with a quote attributed to Ursula von der Leyen with regard to the vaccine rollout: “We were late to authorise, we were too optimistic when it came to massive production and perhaps were too confiwhat dent that what we ordered would actually be delivered.”

With regard to the Pfizer vaccine, the UK began ordering it when it began showing promise and well before it got final approval. The EU was much slower in signing the contracts.

With regard to the AstraZenec­a vaccine, the UK signed a better contract than the EU which enabled it to acquire its full supply even when there were shortages due to production problems.

Thirdly, the UK availed of emergency vaccine supplies in December when the EU didn’t. This was permissibl­e under EU law.

The EU centralise­d the purchasing of the different vaccines in order to secure a better price from the pharmaceut­ical companies. This slowed up the procuremen­t process. On the contrary, Britain’s main focus was on sufficient supply with price being a secondary considerat­ion. I concede that with regard to the pandemic in general the UK did come up short in some areas but with regard to the procuremen­t and rollout of the vaccine, which was the theme of my original letter, April 5, Britain did steal a march on the EU.

Michael Henchion Ballincoll­ig

Cork

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