Britain ‘turns down chance to join EU coronavirus vaccine scheme’
‘The EU scheme wouldn’t allow the UK to do anything more than it currently is,’ a source told the Telegraph.
The UK Government has reportedly rejected the chance to join a European Union-run coronavirus vaccine scheme amid concern over “costly delays”.
The bloc is planning to spend £1.8bn on the advance purchase of vaccines — with member states pooling resources to drive down the cost of buying vaccines.
The programme also promises to adjust the EU’s regulatory framework “to the current urgency” in a bid to speed up vaccine trials and eventual production.
But government sources told The Telegraph that Business Secretary Alok Sharma does not feel there is “sufficient assurance” the UK would receive the number of vaccines it needs if it joins the plan.
Following weeks of talks with Brussels, the paper reports that the European Commission will be notified on Friday that the UK does not intend to take part.
The move comes after a row over Britain’s decision not to join EU-wide schemes for the procurement of ventilators and personal protective equipment.
According to The Telegraph, the British government believes limits on the number of doses allocated to each member state could leave the UK without the vaccines it needs.
“The terms just weren’t right for us. The EU scheme wouldn’t allow the UK to do anything more than it currently is,” a source told the paper.
The UK has already launched its own Vaccines Task Force, with a vaccine partnership between Oxford University and pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca beginning human trials in May.