Matt Hancock says there could be annual coronavirus vaccine
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Tory MP for Dudley North, Marco Longhi, has claimed the UK’s independence from the EU has allowed the Prime Minister to implement his vaccine strategy much more smoothly than on the continent. While the UK approved the Pfizer/BioNtech on December 2, the EU only began its own programme on December 27. Since then, the bloc has not only been accused of being too slow to approve the Pfizer drug but also for its poor implementation strategy.
According to the latest figures, Germany had managed to vaccinate 477,000 people as of Thursday, while France had only carried out 45,500 jabs as of Friday.
Due to this chaos on the continent, Mr Longhi claimed the UK leaving the EU and its procurement strategy, has saved millions.
He told Express.co.uk: “The Government was criticised in the summer when it did not take part in the EU scheme for procurement of vaccines.
“But I’m sure there are many nations wishing they had done the same as the UK.
Brexit news: The MP praised Boris (Image: PA)
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Brexit news: Ursula von der Leyen (Image: GETTY)
“I know from people in Italy, that is very much the case.
“Boris and Brexit are saving lives. There’s no other way you can look at it.”
In the summer, the UK decided not to take part in the EU vaccination scheme, although it could have been involved until the end of the transition period on December 31.
The Government did so in order to take lead in its negotiations where it could set prices, volumes and delivery dates.
Brexit news: The UK has vaccinated 1.3 million (Image: GETTY/PA)
Away from the scheme, the UK became the first country to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, weeks before the EU.
Indeed, the UK has now carried out 1.3 vaccinations as of January 3, while it has also approved the Oxford University/AstraZeneca and Moderna drugs.
On the continent, the EU Commission has led the purchasing and distribution of the drug.
Problems with vaccination programmes have, however, been reported in Belgium, Sweden, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands.
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EU news: The rollout began on December 27 (Image: GETTY)
EU news: Angela Merkel moved to purchase more of the drug (Image: GETTY)
Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, stated the UK is leading the way and expressed his concern for the EU’s vaccination policy.
He said: “The British, instead of letting Brussels do it, negotiated for themselves and are in a much better position now.
“I don’t think we have to wait for the vaccine. As part of the Union we agreed that we’d wait but the process is going so slowly that I think it’s to get act and get the vaccine ourselves.”
Such were the issues with supply chains across the bloc, Netherlands only began its vaccination programme on January 6 – 10 days after fellow member states.
Although the EU Commission has led the purchasing of the vaccines for the continent, Germany has broken ranks to purchase additional doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer and CureVac drugs.
Due to this, Berlin confirmed it is now getting 30 million extra doses of the Pfizer drug through a separate deal.
Germany will receive 50 million doses of the Moderna vaccine which both the European Medicine Agency and the Medicines, and the UK’s Healthcare products Regulatory Agency approved this week.
Coronavirus: The PM welcomed the vaccine rollout (Image: GETTY)
As a result of Germany’s move to purchase more vaccines, Dutch MEP Mohammed Chahim, called it “vaccine nationalism”.
He added: “The deal was to do it together.
“I understand the panic, but this is not the right move.”