Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Mrs von der Leyen's vaccine fiasco: we miss Jean-Claude Juncker already

"We mustn't gloat. This is no time to gloat. But I can tell you, I am gloating like hell." (William Whitelaw)

The British government is the midwife of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. Oxford University was planning to collaborate with Merck, a US firm, but London did not want Donald Trump to be able to seize all the vaccines for US use. The British invested the very large sums of money to enable the Oxford or AZ vaccine to be developed and has earnt a debt of gratitude from the whole world.

The EU, who still haven't paid a large part of their bill for the AZ vaccine, should have praised the British effusively and said, 'Thank you very much, Boris - we owe you one. We are happy to wait patiently in the queue until you vaccinate your vulnerable and old people before we obtain the vaccine.'


I remember a journalist on Twitter saying "You'll miss him when he's gone" when a film clip emerged of Jean-Claude Juncker unsteadily circling other dignitaries at an outdoor ceremony in Africa with a blazing flambeau.

That prediction didn't take long to come true.

Herr Juncker said in a speech in Stuttgart on Sunday that he was "very much opposed" to his successor Frau von der Leyen's export restriction measures. 

He and everyone else.

“Isn’t European management of the vaccines the best advertisement for Brexit?” the French minister of state for European affairs of France was asked yesterday. 

He replied: “I don’t think so. This has nothing to do with Brexit. The British are in an extremely difficult sanitary situation. They are taking a lot of risks with their vaccination programme. I can understand that. They have spaced out massively the delay between the two injections, up to 42 days. Our scientists tell us you mustn't do that."

"They are relying primarily on one single vaccine, which is AstraZeneca, and the German authority has already said there are doubts about its efficacy for the over 65s. In the UK they're using it for that group."

Actually Oxford scientists are sure the AstraZeneca vaccine is effective for people over 65. 

The Pfizer vaccine has also already been rolled out across Britain and the Moderna coronavirus vaccine has been approved for use. Not to mention the Novavax and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. And more coming along.

The UK has now vaccinated 9.2 million people, out of a population of 67 million. 

The idea that without a hard border people in the Republic of Ireland, who don't have vaccines, would sell vaccines to Northern Ireland, where they have lots, is the proof of how completely useless Ursula v d Leyen is.

Matt Hancock, British Secretary of State for Health last night:

“I want to say this to our international partners. Of course I’m delighted about how well this is going at home. But I believe fundamentally that the vaccine roll-out is a global effort… So we will protect UK supply, and play our part to ensure the whole world can get the jab…”

The EU has almost unbelievably lost the opinion writers in the Financial Times and it has lost even more than that - it has lost the German press. 

What a difference this debacle makes, not just for a week but for many years to come, to British opinion (Macron wants to kill British people aged over 65) but also to European and world opinion. 

The AstraZeneca story is a parable.

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