Groups are raising alarm over the global battle over vaccines | Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images
UK snubs EU invitation to purchase vaccines, choosing to go it alone
The EU might end up competing with the UK for vaccine access.
Updated 7/10/20, 7:44 PM CET
The United Kingdom doesn’t want to come to the EU’s vaccine party if it can’t be one of the hosts.
The U.K. confirmed on Friday that it will not accept the EU’s invitation to join the bloc’s plan to advance purchase vaccines — as first reported Thursday in the Telegraph — raising concern that the U.K. will become a competitor instead.
One of the key reasons the U.K. government turned its nose at the EU’s invite is that London wouldn’t be in the driving seat: The U.K. would “have no say” in the negotiations with vaccine producers, the government said, meaning it could not decide what vaccines it could purchase, at what price and in what quantities.
The U.K. would also not be able to negotiate with any company the Commission is negotiating with. Instead, the U.K. wants to host its own conversations with companies.
“The U.K. would not be allowed to continue pursuing independent discussions with pharmaceutical companies, which is key to ensuring the British public have swift access to any vaccine,” the government said in a statement Friday.
The formal announcement comes after Commission chief spokesperson Eric Mamer declined to comment on whether the U.K.’s decision would increase competition or not.