Ex Brexit MEP fumes over ‘bonkers’ EU vaccine approval delay – ‘We are standing gawping!’

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Michael Heaver, a former Brexit Party MEP, has pointed to the fact Germans are waiting for a vaccine developed by German scientists. He wrote on Twitter: “Germans waiting for a vaccine that was developed by two German scientists cause it hasn’t had EU approval yet.

“Bonkers.”

Mr Heaver quoted an editorial by German tabloid Bild criticising the EU’s slow pace, writing: “Britain, Canada and the USA have started vaccinating — and we are standing and gawping.”

Jens Spahn, the German health minister, has warned the EU could lose trust of its citizens if it causes too great a delay.

The EU ruling on the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, approved by the UK on December 2, has been scheduled for December 21, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced.

BioNTech is a German company based in Mainz. The EMA evaluates drugs and vaccines for the 27 EU nations.

It was originally due on December 29 but the date was brought forward following the backlash.

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Mr Spahn has said Germany should start giving coronavirus shots 24 to 72 hours after the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine gets European Union regulatory approval – and could begin as soon as Christmas.

Thousands of people in Britain, Canada and the United States, have received the vaccine so far.

Brit Margaret Keenan, now 91, became the first person in the world to receive the jab as a part of a mass immunisation programme.

“Our goal is an approval before Christmas,” Mr Spahn told Associated Press reporters in Berlin on Tuesday.

“We want to start vaccinating this year.”

Mr Spahn said he had received confirmation that the vaccine will be approved by December 23, but said the public should await an official EU announcement.

Germany, which is set to enter a hard lockdown on Wednesday after infection levels hit record heights, is among European nations to tighten restrictions ahead of the festive season.

Schools and non-essential shops are closed, joining restaurants, bars and leisure centres which were shut from November.

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The period will span December 16 to January 10, with an easing over Christmas entitling one household to host up to four close relatives.

The Netherlands has also entered a five-week lockdown, meaning non-essential shops, theatres and gyms have all closed.

Restaurants, hotels and indoor sports venues in the Czech Republic will also close from Friday – a fortnight after reopening.

Italy could be placed in a nationwide lockdown, from Christmas Eve until at least January 2, to tackle a potential surge in infections, local media has reported.

Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith, 80, is among the latest UK residents to receive the vaccine.

The UK government is aiming to noculate tens of millions of residents within months, starting with those in the high risk category.

A booster jab at 21 days follows the first dose.

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