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EU bureaucracy accused of ‘costing lives’ over slow Oxford vaccine approval

EU bureaucracy is accused of ‘costing lives’ after European regulators said they cannot approve the Oxford vaccine before February

  • EU bureaucracy accused of ‘costing lives’ over slow Oxford vaccine approval
  • European Medical Agency’s Noel Wathion said vaccine quality must be proven
  • EU has bought 400million doses while waiting for it to receive approval
  • EMA must consult experts from all 27 member states before decision is made 

EU red tape was yesterday accused of ‘costing lives’ after European regulators said they will be unable to approve the Oxford vaccine before February.

The deputy executive director of the bloc’s European Medical Agency (EMA) said it was ‘unlikely’ officials would be able to give the jab the green light next month.

Noel Wathion said: ‘We are not just going to give approval based on a press release that they have sent out themselves.

 Noel Wathion (pictured), the deputy executive director of the bloc’s European Medical Agency (EMA), said it was ‘unlikely’ officials would be able to give the jab the green light next month

‘The company must first demonstrate that all vaccines will be of high quality.’

He added that pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, which developed the vaccine with Oxford University, has still not submitted a formal application for its £3-a-dose jab to be approved. 

Mr Wathion told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad the EMA was ‘in the dark’ about what kind of data was being used for Britain to approve the use of the Oxford vaccine.

The EU has already bought 400million doses of the jab while awaiting regulatory approval. 

Mr Wathion told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad the EMA was ‘in the dark’ about what kind of data was being used for Britain to approve the use of the Oxford vaccine (file image)

Mr Wathion told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad the EMA was ‘in the dark’ about what kind of data was being used for Britain to approve the use of the Oxford vaccine (file image)

But the glacial pace at which the EMA operates, which involves consulting experts in all 27 member states, has frustrated several governments.

It was only thanks to pressure from Germany that the EMA approved the Pfizer-BioNTech jab earlier than expected, on December 21. 

German MEP Gunnar Beck said: ‘Brits must be breathing a sigh of relief that their lives are no longer run by bungling European bureaucrats. EU red tape is literally costing lives.’

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