EU export ban could delay Britain's Covid vaccine mission by TWO MONTHS, report warns

BRITAIN'S Covid vaccine rollout faces a two-month delay if EU members states go ahead with a jab export ban.

The ban, set to be debated next Thursday, would derail the UK government's road map to reopen the economy.

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And according to analytics firm Airfinity, the move would NOT provide a significant boost to beleaguered vaccine rollouts in the European Union.

Research shows that the small number of doses kept within the bloc would speed up European Union vaccinations by "just over a week."

Yet, an export ban of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine made in Belgium and Germany would delay every British adult receiving a first jab until August 5, reports the Guardian.

And a further ban to all jab exports, including those from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, would delay the rollout target to August 27, the report says.

The EU's shambolic rollout, combined with a sharp rise in infections, has seen large swathes of the continent plunged back into lockdown in the past week.

As of yesterday, states in the bloc had administered just 10.4 jab doses per 100 people compared with 42.7 jabs per 100 in the UK.

Britain has received around 10 million vaccine doses from plants in the EU since the rollout started in December.

Reports say that Number 10 is expecting around 60 million more in the coming months.

Today, the UK defence secretary Ben Wallace warned Brussels that the "world is watching" ahead of their decision next week.

He told Sky News: "If contracts get broken, and undertakings, that is a very damaging thing to happen for a trading bloc that prides itself on the rule of law.

“It is counterproductive because the one thing we know about vaccine production and manufacture is that it is collaborative.

“They would undermine not only their own citizens’ chances of having a proper vaccine programme, but also many other countries around the world, with the reputational damage for the EU which they would find very hard to change over the short term.”

Meanwhile, Pfizer has urged the EU to back down on its threats to block vaccine exports to the UK as essential ingredients are made in Yorkshire.

The drug giant warned that production could "grind to a halt" if Britain retaliates, sparking further jab chaos on the continent.

Yorkshire-based firm Croda International has been delivering "fatty molecules" to Pfizer's EU factories since signing a five-year contract in November.

Pfizer, and its partner BioNTech, have told the EU that Britain can strike back against any export ban by withholding vital materials, reports The Telegraph.

But the EU yesterday doubled down on its threat to block 19 million vaccine doses to the UK.

European Commissioner for financial services Mairead McGuinness vowed that "everything is on the table".

She said EU leaders will hold crunch talks this week after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen threatened to join Germany and France in the blockade.

Yet, despite the crisis, Britain's vaccine rollout continues to set records.

On Saturday, the UK smashed its daily vaccine record for the second day in a row.

Yesterday, saw 844,000 more jabs administered across the UK in 24 hours.

PM Boris Johnson said: "Yesterday was a record-breaking day for the vaccine rollout, with 873,784 people receiving a jab.

"A huge thank you to everyone involved and please come forward to get your jab when you are invited to do so."

And while our European neighbours are plunged back into stricter lockdowns, UK Covid deaths today dropped to their lowest level in five months with 33 more fatalities recorded.

A further 5,312 people have also tested positive for the disease – bringing the total number of infections since the pandemic began to 4,296,583.

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