THE PM yesterday tore into the EU for threatening to block the export of millions of Covid jabs to Britain.
Furious Boris Johnson urged the bloc to show common sense.
He warned we expected the EU to honour contracts to provide tens of millions of doses.
The row came amid claims EU officials even begged AstraZeneca to divert vaccines from its UK factory to Brussels.
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen warned the EU meant business about protecting its citizens.
But speaking at the No 10 press conference, Mr Johnson insisted: “I don’t want to see restrictions on vaccines or their ingredients across borders.”
The PM hailed the global efforts that went into creating vaccines produced by Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna.
Brussels has raised suspicions that vaccines earmarked for the EU were sold to Britain at a higher priceCredit: Rex Features
He said the EU’s threat to block their export went against principles of multinational cooperation.
And he added: “The virus knows no borders.”
But Ms Von der Leyen, in a virtual speech to the Davos economic forum, declared: “Europe invested billions to help develop the world’s first Covid-19 vaccines, to create a truly global common good.
“And now, the companies must deliver.
“They must honour their obligations.
“This is why we will set up a vaccine export transparency mechanism. Europe is determined to contribute.
“But it also means business.”
The stand-off could plunge NHS supplies into crisis.
Nadhim Zahawi warned Eurocrats not to try to block the vaccine coming to the UKCredit: refer to caption.
EU boss Ursula von der Leyen said the bloc ‘means business’ with its new export restrictions Credit: Rex Features
Britain has ordered 40million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine, which is produced in Belgium.
We have also bought another 100million doses of the Oxford- AstraZeneca vaccine, mainly produced in UK factories.
AstraZeneca is accused of supplying the UK with doses from stocks meant for Europe because we paid more.
According to one EU official, the bloc asked the company to divert doses produced in its British factory to the EU, for the month of March at least.
Astra denied the accusations. CEO Pascal Soriot told the Italian paper La Repubblica emotions were running high in the battle to beat Covid-19.
He pointed out Britain’s early vaccine approval meant the EU was three months behind on production and supply.
EU health boss Stella Kyriakides announced new export controls on vaccinesCredit: AP:Associated Press
Mr Soriot said: “The suggestion we sell to other countries to make more money is not right because we make no profit everywhere.
“Governments are under pressure. Everybody is getting a bit aggravated or emotional about those things.
“We’re certainly not taking vaccines away from the Europeans to sell it somewhere else at a profit.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock also hit out at the EU.
He told an event at the Chatham House policy institute: “I think protectionism is not the right approach in the middle of a pandemic.”
German health minister Jens Spahn called for an export restriction on vaccines to make sure Europe got its fair share.
He said: “This means vaccines that leave the EU need a licence so we know first of all what is produced in Europe, what leaves Europe, where it leaves Europe and whether this is a fair distribution.”
Britain is forging ahead of Europe in delivering vaccinationsCredit: foto-poznan
German officials were also caught out for falsely claiming the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine does not work on over-65s.
Eurocrats admit they are concerned about their slow jabs rollout. A spokesman said: “We are worried, that is for sure.”
A Commission spokesman demanded AstraZeneca send its doses to the EU.
He said: “We see that doses are being delivered elsewhere and we know we’ve signed an agreement with AstraZeneca.”
The Government says it has total confidence in its supplies.
The Sun says
THE EU’s true colours are now starkly exposed to its enraged citizens and even UK fans who have supported it for so long.
On vaccines, it is paying the price of its cumbersome bureaucracy and woeful incompetence.
Too arrogant to admit its flaws it jealously lashes out at Britain, sickeningly threatening our jab supplies.
A shameful pack of lies mysteriously leaked to the German Press then claims our Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine barely works in over-65s.
Yes, the same vaccine the EU is desperate to get hold of — but still, incredibly, hasn’t approved.
It is a sorry, shambolic spectacle, one only the crazier Remain diehards would defend. Here is their great “liberal peace project” issuing menaces like gangsters.
Britain was simply much faster to secure, approve and roll out the vaccines. Brexiters said we would be nimbler on our own. So it has proved.
But compare too the difference in attitude: Britain (that’s “insular Little Britain”, remember) offering our world-beating genomics expertise to help the rest of the planet identify Covid variants.
And Brussels . . . driven by selfish spite.
The Pfizer vaccine is made at a factory in BelgiumCredit: Getty Images – Getty