EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the European Union has "underestimated" problems in how the coronavirus vaccines would be produced and rolled out. She compared the bloc to a tanker in terms of its speed in securing vaccination imports.
Countries acting alone on the other hand, according to the EU Commission President, are "like a speedboat".
Since the EU made a U-turn on triggering an emergency override provision in the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has admitted regret in threatening to impose checks on the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland to restrict the shipments of jabs.
"We shouldn't even have thought about [it]", she added, speaking to the German media on Friday.
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) January 29, 2021
The UK so far has secured access to 407 million doses of seven of the most promising vaccine candidates, including:
- BioNTech/Pfizer for 40 million doses;
- Oxford/AstraZeneca for 100 million doses;
- Moderna for 17 million doses;
- GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi Pasteur for 60 million doses;
- Novavax for 60 million doses;
- Janssen for 30 million doses;
- Valneva for 100 million doses.
According to the European Commission, the bloc has secured a portfolio of more than 2.3 billion doses.
"Contracts have been concluded with AstraZeneca (400 million doses), Sanofi-GSK (300 million doses), Johnson & Johnson (400 million doses), BioNTech-Pfizer 600 million doses, CureVac (405 million doses), and Moderna (160 million doses). The Commission has concluded exploratory talks with the pharmaceutical company Novavax with a view to purchasing up to 200 million doses and with Valneva with a view to purchase up to 60 million doses", said a statement by the Commission.
The jabs border scandal broke out almost a month after the EU and Britain reached a post-Brexit trade deal.