“We take some comfort from the success of the UK vaccine programme which is on target to vaccinate almost 50% of the UK population (30mln) by the end of March,” the budget airline commented.
“The EU now needs to step up the slow pace of its rollout programme to match the UK’s performance.”
AstraZeneca agrees for more doses to EU after row
This means the bloc will receive a total of 40mln doses in the first quarter, which is well below the 100mln initially agreed.
Step forward on vaccines.@AstraZeneca will deliver 9 million additional doses in the first quarter (40 million in total) compared to last week’s offer & will start deliveries one week earlier than scheduled.
The company will also expand its manufacturing capacity in Europe.
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) January 31, 2021
The pharma giant said last month it would be able to deliver only a quarter of the agreed volumes because of teething problems at its manufacturing plants.
The news caused friction between the two parties, with the EU demanding supplies that were destined to the UK and investigating a Belgian factory to understand whether jabs had been diverted to non-member states.
The Commission was criticised for threatening to put checks on the Northern Ireland border – one of the most difficult points in the Brexit agreement – to prevent EU-made vaccines from entering the UK.
Also on Monday, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced Pfizer/BioNTech have agreed to supply an extra 75mln doses in the second quarter of the year and up to 600mln in total in 2021.
Care home residents: check
February started on a positive note in the UK as the NHS has announced that all care home residents in England have been offered the jab.
Official figures to be released on Monday revealed the national health service has reached 10,000 care homes while over half a million people received the injection on Saturday, the highest number yet.
It means the country is on track for its mid-February target of covering the first four priority groups.
So far, 12% of Britain’s population have received at least the first dose, including nearly nine out of ten people aged 80 and above and over three-quarters of over-75s.
–Adds Ryanair update–