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London warns of ‘significant consequences’ if Brussels blocks Covid vaccines leaving the EU after von der Leyen threatens action

London warns of ‘significant consequences’ if Brussels blocks Covid vaccines leaving the EU after von der Leyen threatens action
The UK has hit back at the EU with its own warning after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen threatened to block deliveries of Covid-19 jabs leaving the EU unless other vaccines producers shared their supplies.

“There is of course a need for all countries to respect contract law... and I’m sure that the European Union will live up to the commitments and statements that it has made,” British Health Secretary Matt Hancock told lawmakers on Thursday.

“We fully expect those contracts to be delivered on, because there are very significant consequences to breaking contract law,” he added, referencing von der Leyen’s Wednesday demands. 

Also on rt.com Covid-19 vaccine deliveries slow in April but will speed up in May, says UK minister, despite drug company rebuttal

The European Commission president had singled the UK out as a nation that receives EU-manufactured Covid-19 vaccinations but does not reciprocate by allowing British-produced jabs to go the other way.

“We want to see reciprocity and proportionality in exports, and we are ready to use whatever tool we need to deliver on that,” von der Leyen said, adding if the reciprocity isn’t forthcoming, “we will have to reflect on how to make exports to vaccine-producing countries dependent on their level of openness.”

The Commission president also said Brussels would consider reducing exports to countries which had higher vaccination rates than the EU in what she described as “proportionality”. The UK expects to have vaccinated half of all adults by the end of the week, while many EU countries are yet to reach 10%. 

Also on rt.com Half of British adults to be inoculated against Covid-19 by week’s end, says UK minister, reassures that jab is ‘safe’

On Thursday, government ministers confirmed that the UK would see reduced vaccine deliveries in April, after a letter with the same message was leaked on Wednesday.

Hancock told fellow lawmakers that there were two reasons for the delay. First, that 1.7 million doses needed to be retested to ensure stability, and second, that deliveries from the Serum Institute of India would also be delayed.

The health minister refused to comment on the delays from India, noting: "Now, I want to put on the record my gratitude to the Serum Institute of India for the incredible work that they're doing producing vaccine not just for us in the UK, but for the whole world.” 

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