UK ‘has more Covid vaccine supply than it needs with 5.5 doses per person' and could share it, industry insider claims
BRITAIN has more Covid vaccine supply than it needs and could share spare jabs with other countries, it's reported.
The UK has secured 367 million doses, enough for 5.5 per person, industry insiders believe.
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Around 13 per cent of adults in the UK have already had at least one vaccine injection, with the EU average just two per cent.
And with Britain leading Europe's vaccine charge, the government could donate them to other countries lagging behind, it's claimed.
A source told The Times: "There is plenty of vaccine. It exceeds what the government wants to do."
It comes amid a furious battle with Brussels bigwigs over the supply of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is developed at Oxford University.
Officials from the bloc have accused the pharmaceutical giants of reneging on agreed supply amounts.
Astrazeneca has said it can only deliver a quarter of the 100 million doses Brussels expected in the first quarter, an EU official claimed.
Brussels has ordered AstraZeneca to reroute up to 75 million doses from British factories to make up the shortfall.
EU health chiefStella Kyriakides ordered AstraZeneca to divert the vaccine supplies from its two plants in Oxfordshire and Staffordshire to the continent or risk financial and legal penalties.
And she claimed the Anglo-Swedish was breaching its contract with the bloc by trying to keep the UK's supply chain separate to that of the rest of Europe.
German MEP Peter Liese warned the explosive row risked sparking a vaccine "trade war".
But an industry insider accused Brussels of "political rhetoric" over its demands to divert vaccines from the UK.
The source told The Times: "They cannot stop vaccines that are contracted for delivery.
"Some of these vaccines have already been given to people who are due to receive their second dose.
"It would be a human rights issue if that process was stopped."
Following crunch talks with AstaZeneca last night Ms Kyriakides claimed there was a "lack of clarity" over the firm's delivery schedule and demanded a "clear plan".
Ms Kyriakides said: The EU remains united and firm.
"Contractual obligations must be met, vaccines must be delivered to EU citizens."
Senior Conservative MPs waded into the row, with former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith branding Brussels' stance "pathetic".
There is plenty of vaccine. It exceeds what the government wants to do.
He told The Sun: "They screwed up and are now trying to blame everyone else.
"This is a really big moment as many will finally see just how arrogant and intolerant so many of the EU institutions really are.
"They just don't get it. They have made a complete mess of vaccinations and having made that mess they are now trying to shift blame on to AZ ."
Britain suffered its second deadliest day of the pandemic, with another 1,725 reported deaths, bringing the total killed by the disease to 101,887.
There were another 25,308 cases, but the seven-day average infection rate is down by 29 per cent.
Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca's boss, believed the UK was on course to administer doses to "maybe 28 or 30 million people" by March – which is half the population.
The AstraZeneca jab is expected to be approved by the continent's regulatory body the European Medicines Agency (EMA) this week.
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