Coronavirus vaccine: Boris keeping UK supply secret in case EU rivals demand bigger share

Coronavirus vaccine: Boris keeping UK supply secret in case EU rivals demand bigger share

Yesterday vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi told MPs he was unable to say how many doses of Covid vaccines the UK was receiving because of “national security”. Today the Prime Minister’s official spokesman indicated the Government was worried other countries would try to limit future deliveries if they knew the extent of Britain’s stock.

He said: “Vaccines are obviously in high demand across the world and it has been the case throughout that we haven’t provided a commentary on the details of our supplies or the logistics around them.

“That will remain the case.

“We continue to have enough supply to continue rolling out and to increase the programme to ensure we meet the targets that we’ve set.”

The Downing Street official refused to say directly whether Mr Johnson was worried other countries would heap pressure on the drug companies to stall deliveries to Britain until they had caught up.

He said: “The Prime Minister is focused on getting as many doses into as many people as possible.”

The UK has so far administered more vaccines than any other country in the world, bar Israel.

It has also vaccinated more people than the whole of the EU put together.

In Greater Manchester alone more Brits have been immunised than in France.

The EU is coming under increasing pressure from member states to improve its supply of jabs.

The rollout of vaccines has been slow, with the European Commission facing pressure to increase its number of available jabs and future deliveries.

Brussels allocates doses of the vaccine to member states based on the size of their population, meaning some member states get more doses than others.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, has dismissed concerns over the amount of coronavirus antidote available, saying “we will have more than enough safe and effective vaccines for protecting all Europeans”.

Britain already has as many at 21 million doses of coronavirus jabs sitting in storage facilities across the country according to the Daily Mail.

The stock still needs to pass regulatory checks and been placed into vials ready to be delivered to vaccination centres across the UK.

The huge supply means there is already enough vaccine in the country to inoculate all 15million of the most vulnerable Brits identified by the Government.

A target of February 15 has been set for giving a first dose of the antidote to those critically vulnerable.

The group is made up of care home residents, residential care workers, over 80s, and health care workers.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed earlier today that more than three million jabs had now been administered across the UK.

The EU invited the UK to join its vaccination scheme last summer.

Ministers rejected the offer saying they were concerned it would cap the number of vaccines that would be available to the UK due to the distribution method being used by the Commission.

Member states, including Germany, have started to try and secure more access to Covid jabs outside of the EU scheme after being dissatisfied with the lack of supply.

It came after Germany set up hundreds of vaccination centres in sports halls and concert arenas and had the infrastructure to administer up to 300,000 shots a day but did not have the dosages to match.