The UK Government has decided to opt out of a European Union (EU) €2bn advance purchase scheme for Covid-19 vaccines, according to the Daily Telegraph. The newspaper reported that Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Alok Sharma walked away from negotiations earlier today.
This decision is reported to be due to concerns about ‘costly delays’ of around six months and because of concerns that might be subject to a cap on the number of doses allocated.
In addition, it seems that the UK is confident it can sign similarly good deals with drug manufacturers alone, evidenced by an existing deal with AstraZeneca and its partner, the University of Oxford.
The EU’s programme was announced last month as part of the European Commission’s commitment to further accelerate the development and commercialisation of Covid-19 vaccines. Its commitments centre on “securing timely access to vaccines for Member States and their population while leading the global solidarity effort” and “ensuring equitable access for all in the EU to an affordable vaccine as early as possible”.
A UK spokesperson is expected to make a full statement later today.