Great Britain is trying to steal corona vaccines from the European Union because it has run through its supplies itself, says French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
He blames the British for boasting about their vaccination campaign, that it is going so fast and so many people have been vaccinated, and now a problem with the second dose. Le Drian emphasized in an interview that you are only really vaccinated after you have had two injections. In France, about as many people have now been vaccinated twice as in the United Kingdom, according to the minister
He argues that the British have rushed to give people the first shot and are now trying to get the second dose in all kinds of ways.
Central to the current row between London and Brussels about the vaccinations is a pharmaceutical factory in the Netherlands that, according to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, is supposed to make vaccines from AstraZeneca for the British. That is disputed on the continent. The factory of the company Halix in Leiden will probably be officially approved by the European Medicines Agency EMA on Friday.
Le Drian was also upset about Russia’s stance in the corona crisis. According to him, the Russians are making propaganda with their vaccine Sputnik-V. He says that Russia’s way of recommending the vaccine is “more propaganda and aggressive diplomacy than solidarity and aid in the health crisis.” Le Drian cites the Russian vaccines for Tunisia as an example.
The Russians have announced with much fanfare in the media that they are giving 30,000 doses of Sputnik-V to Tunisia, but that North African country is already receiving half a million doses from the international program Covax in these months.
Le Drian argues that Russia is not the only country using its vaccines to increase influence. “Russia and China are using their vaccines to gain influence even before inoculating their own populations.” The Kremlin vehemently contradicted Le Drian’s statements on Friday.