Britain will not join an EU programme to procure a coronavirus vaccine if one is successfully developed, health secretary Matt Hancock has said.
Hancock said ministers had taken the decision after Brussels confirmed that the UK would have to abandon its own procurement efforts – which were reportedly at a more advanced stage – in order to take part. He told Times Radio:
We have chosen not to join the EU scheme on vaccine purchase. The reason is that it wouldn’t have allowed us to have a say in the vaccines that were procured, the price, the quantity, or the delivery schedule…
We are further ahead than the EU schemes are. We would have joined the EU scheme if they had allowed us also to continue with our own negotiations, but one of the conditions of the scheme was that we would have had to stop our own negotiations and only do them through the European Commission and we weren’t prepared to do that.
We think we will go faster this way.
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
Two leading vaccine development projects are in the UK
Hancock confirmed the UK was putting in contracts with vaccine developers around the world. And that the UK was engaging will all 10 of the development projects regarded as the frontrunners, including those at Oxford University and Imperial College London. He said:
We think that, because we are further ahead, actually the risk would have been to stop the UK procurements and instead be required to buy only through the European Commission route…
I think it is actually better to continue with the work that we have been doing, not least, because we have got two of the top candidates here domestically, countries around the world are keen to engage.
The decision not to join the EU programme was confirmed by Britain’s ambassador Tim Barrow in a letter to the European Commission. He said, however, that the UK was committed to strengthening its collaboration with the EU in other areas outside the vaccine procurement scheme. He added:
This could include sharing of information on promising vaccine candidates; negotiations with vaccine manufacturers; vaccine trials; manufacturing investment and capacity building; mitigations to supply chain bottlenecks and other delivery risks such as global trade disruptions.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?