French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Emmanuel Macron-Boris Johnson)
France Accused of Stealing UK Vaccines: France has been accused of stealing 5 million COVID-19 vaccines that were to be sent to Britain. French President Emmanuel Macron is accused of conspiring with the head of the European Union to halt vaccine exports to Britain earlier this year (France UK Vaccine Row). According to the report of British newspaper The Sun, a large consignment of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was about to come to Britain, but it was diverted at the last minute.
Britain had a dispute with France and Belgium in March when the vaccine was not being supplied to the European Union. Macron falsely claimed that the AstraZeneca vaccine is ‘less effective’ (Emmanuel Macron on AstraZeneca Vaccine). While EU chief Ursula von der Leyen threatened not to send the Pfizer vaccine to Britain. On 22 March, AstraZeneca company president Rudd Dober said that a consignment of several million doses was expected to arrive in the UK from the production site in Holland. Although it never came.
Doing so is tantamount to ‘act of war’
The Sun quoted a government source as saying that diverting the vaccine was ‘disgraceful’ and tantamount to an ‘act of war’ that could ‘cost people’s lives’ (Covid Vaccine UK France). Nothing has been said from AstraZeneca in the matter. The source said, ‘France stole our vaccine at the same time they were publicly criticizing the same and suggesting that they are not safe to use. It was an outrageous thing and not an act of an ally. To prevent Britain from leaving the EU, the vaccine was stopped from reaching here, which could have cost the lives of those who were waiting for the first and second doses.
EU countries justify their move
European Union leaders threatened export restrictions in March to block shipments of a second batch of vaccines to Britain. At that time France suggested that Britain did not have enough Pfizer vaccine to provide a second dose (France Accused of Stealing Vaccines). Brussels then accused AstraZeneca of reneging on its deal to deliver 120 million doses. European Union countries justified their support for stopping shipments of the vaccine by accusing Britain of failing to export the vaccine to them.
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