Vaccines: Europe is ‘so far behind UK’ says professor
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Nearly five years after the country voted to leave the EU, support for freedom from the bloc sits at 54 percent. Meanwhile, 62 percent of people believe the UK’s independence is responsible for the success of the inoculation drive across the country.
Since the first vaccine was approved for use in Britain at the start of December, jabs have been rolled out at a rapid pace with more than 32 million Brits having received at least a first injection.
The Government had set itself the target of April 15 to reach the 32 million mark, putting the immunisation programme ahead of schedule.
By the end of July, ministers hope all adults will have been given a first dose of a vaccine.
While more than 47 percent of the UK population has had at least a first jab according to statistics from Our World in Data, the figure is just 15 percent across the EU.
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A failure to secure enough doses and vaccine hesitancy amongst the public is responsible for the slower pace of injection on the continent.
Following the UK’s success after Brexit, the majority of the public believes Brussels has acted maliciously.
Some 67 percent of respondents to a JL Partners survey conducted for Bloomberg believe the bloc has been “hostile” towards the UK over vaccine supply.
Of the 2,002 people interviewed online between April 7 and 8, just 13 percent believe the EU has acted as an “ally and a friend”.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has repeatedly threatened to cut off the UK’s vaccine supply by banning the export of all jabs manufactured on the continent unless it receives a bigger share of the doses produced.
The bloc was also accused of undermining confidence in the AstraZeneca jab earlier this year when French President Emmanuel Macron called the vaccine “quasi-ineffective” and Ms von Der Leyen said Britain had jeopardised safety with its quick approval of Covid antidotes.
“The EU are behaving like a bitter ex,” said one respondent to the JL Partners survey.
“We’ve left, and they’ve not really been an ally when they could have been.”
Another person, who wanted the UK to remain in the EU in 2016 said he was “proud” of how Boris Johnson’s Government had handled the vaccine situation.
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“The vaccine was amazingly quick,” he said.
“I’m proud I was in the UK when this situation happened.
“I’d be worried if I was in Italy.
“I’m actually proud of the Government.”
Today, non-essential shops and outdoor hospitality begins to reopen in England with the Prime Minister giving the go-ahead for his roadmap back to normality to progress as planned.
The speed of the deployment of vaccines coupled with lockdown measures has led to a plunge in coronavirus cases.
Yesterday 1,730 new cases confirmed by a Covid test were recorded.
Meanwhile, a further 221 people were admitted to hospital with the virus and seven new deaths were reported.
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