LONDON — Britain vowed to “set the document straight” after European Council President Charles Michel accused the U.Ok. of blocking the export of coronavirus vaccines.
In a contemporary escalation of the cross-Channel row over jabs, U.Ok. Overseas Secretary Dominic Raab despatched a letter to European Council President Charles Michel Tuesday evening dismissing strategies Britain had banned exports of the life saving doses.
“I wished to set the document straight,” Raab mentioned, in response to an individual accustomed to the letter. “The UK authorities has not blocked the export of a single COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine elements. Any references to a UK export ban or any restrictions on vaccines are utterly false.”
He added: “We’re all going through this pandemic collectively.”
The intervention comes after Michel pointed the finger on the U.Ok. and U.S. in a written rebuttal of criticism that has rained down on the EU’s vaccine technique, saying he was shocked at claims the bloc was partaking in “vaccine nationalism” by implementing export controls on jabs.
Britain and the U.S., he mentioned, “imposed an outright ban on the export of vaccines or vaccine elements produced on their territory.”
“However the European Union, the area with the biggest vaccine manufacturing capability on this planet, has merely put in place a system for controlling the export of doses produced within the EU,” Michel wrote in his “e-newsletter to residents” despatched out on Tuesday.
Stung by that accusation, the U.Ok. can also be anticipated to summon a consultant of the EU’s delegation to the U.Ok. to debate the matter, a standard diplomatic methodology for expressing critical displeasure.
The U.Ok. has, nonetheless, secured precedence over others for doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines. And regardless of ongoing shortages within the EU, Britain is set to obtain extra Oxford/AstraZeneca doses as of subsequent week. It was additionally attributable to obtain vaccine doses from India’s Serum Institute this week.
In January, it emerged that the U.Ok. authorities sought authorized recommendation on stopping coronavirus vaccines or their substances from being exported, suggesting that ministers had been actively contemplating countermeasures they might deploy if different international locations began to limit cross-border actions of vaccines.
A U.Ok. authorities spokesperson mentioned the pandemic represented “a worldwide problem and worldwide collaboration on vaccine improvement continues to be an integral a part of our response.”
In a tweet late Tuesday, Michel didn’t repeat his prior allegation of an “outright ban” on vaccines, nor did he retract it or apologize, however as an alternative angled to assert credit score for doubtlessly scary the British authorities into being extra clear about its guidelines on exports of coronavirus vaccines and medicines.
“Glad if the UK response results in extra transparency & elevated exports, to EU and third international locations,” he wrote.
However he additionally famous “alternative ways of imposing bans or restrictions on vaccines/medicines,” backtracking from his authentic unequivocal accusation in favor of a extra muddled criticism.
David M. Herszenhorn contributed reporting.
This text has been up to date with additional feedback from Charles Michel.