‘The day UK led humanity’s charge against Covid’: Tory MP Sharma mocked for over-the-top cheer as London approves foreign vaccine
UK business secretary Alok Sharma attracted backlash after tweeting that the UK had “led humanity’s charge” against the Covid-19 pandemic by merely approving a new US-German vaccine earlier than other countries.
“The UK was the first country to sign a deal with Pfizer/BioNTech - now we will be the first to deploy their vaccine,” Sharma wrote on Wednesday, celebrating the development, which he called a “breakthrough.”
The UK was the first country to sign a deal with Pfizer/BioNTech - now we will be the first to deploy their vaccineTo everyone involved in this breakthrough: thank youIn years to come, we will remember this moment as the day the UK led humanity’s charge against this disease— Alok Sharma (@AlokSharma_RDG) December 2, 2020
The grandiosity with which Sharma described a somewhat routine decision made by the UK's drug regulating agency was largely ridiculed online. Many of Sharma’s mockers focused on the fact that the upcoming vaccine was developed neither by a British company nor by British scientists.
“A vaccine developed in Germany by Turkish migrants and manufactured in Belgium, at the point we're actively making it more difficult to import,” one person tweeted, jokingly adding, “Yep, got “UK” written all over it.”
It was developed in Germany and manufactured in Belgium. I'm not sure that counts as 'UK led charge'.— Mike Buckley (@mdbuckley) December 2, 2020
The vaccine was developed by two Turkish-German scientists. The credit for this vaccine does not belong with the UK.— Liz Jarvis (@LizJarvisUK) December 2, 2020
An international breakthrough which came from a German company run by Turkish immigrants. You & your failing govt had nothing to do with it. The only credit the UK can take is being the first country to line Pfizer's shareholders pockets as this vaccine is priced way above cost.— junesim63 (@JuneSim63) December 2, 2020
Germany: “We developed it”Turkey: “We designed it”Belgium: “We produced it”U.K.: “We are really good at shopping!! Britain First! We’re number 1!!” pic.twitter.com/ijYIE6LIon— Mark Davyd (@markdavyd) December 2, 2020
A vaccine developed in Germany by Turkish migrants and manufactured in Belgium, at the point we're actively making it more difficult to import.Yep, got "UK" written all over it.— Ben R (@Chairmanbenr) December 2, 2020
Others took Sharma’s words in a more alarmist way, saying that his apparent attempt to let the UK take credit for a foreign invention was “rampant nationalism.”
This is not just nationalism. This is rampant, Brexit-fuelled, world-beating, 2020 Tory nationalism.— Siobhan Benita (@SiobhanBenita) December 2, 2020
No Mr. Sharma …. keep your ugly nationalism to yourselfBe human first— David Farah (@DavidkFarah) December 2, 2020
Some, however, saw the situation just as Sharma presented it, saying it was “good news” for the UK.
Good news ! I am a big critic of govt handling but credit where credits due !— Red Rob (@rob123446) December 2, 2020
Notably the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was approved ahead of the British one being produced by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford. The Pfizer cure, said to be 95 percent effective, already made headlines when Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he will receive the jab live on TV to prove it’s safe.Also on rt.com ‘Sickening PR stunt’ or clever public outreach? UK Health Secretary Hancock agrees to take Pfizer jab live on TV with Piers Morgan
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