back to article European Commission redacts AstraZeneca vaccine contract – but forgets to wipe the bookmarks tab

The European Commission's war of words against pharma company AstraZeneca over COVID-19 virus vaccines has descended into farce after Brussels accidentally published an unredacted version of a disputed supply contract. The classic tech blunder saw commercially sensitive details freely published online – and readable by anyone …

  1. eswan

    "reminiscent of the early days of IT two decades ago,"

    I really hope that was intended to be sarcasm.

  2. alain williams Silver badge

    Why was it redacted in the first place ...

    the EU is claiming that the contract is broken but does not show everything ? So why hide part of it ?

    I could understand if it was things like price paid, but it is more than that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why was it redacted in the first place ...

      Non-disclosure agreement?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why was it redacted in the first place ...

      "I could understand if it was things like price paid, but it is more than that."

      And a Belgian minister had already released the vaccine pricing...

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/18/belgian-minister-accidentally-tweets-eus-covid-vaccine-price-list

    3. Trollslayer

      Re: Why was it redacted in the first place ...

      The "best effort" clause in multiple places was deleted.

  3. Borg.King
    Facepalm

    Null and void

    The EU appears to have broken the confidentiality clause in the contract, I would encourage Astra-Zeneca to claim a contract violation and not honour any of it.

    There's plenty of countries who'll buy all the vaccine they can make.

    1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

      Re: Null and void

      > The EU appears to have broken the confidentiality clause in the contract, I would encourage Astra-Zeneca to claim a contract violation and not honour any of it

      It's not mentioned in the article, but AZ agreed to the publication of the (redacted) contract. The botched redaction wouldn't be counted as a deliberate breach of the confidentiality clause.

      1. Woodnag Silver badge

        confidentiality clause

        A breach is a breach... deliberate or not doesn't matter. Duty of care, etc.

        1. jmch Silver badge

          Re: confidentiality clause

          True, but a breach doesn't necessarily nullify the whole of the contract.

          As an aside, I'd be much more interested in seeing unredacted versions of the vaccine test results...

          1. Schultz

            Re: vaccine test results

            For a complete and peer-reviewed (i.e., checked by independent scientists) review of the vaccine test results, refer to the corresponding scientific publications. There are cases if scientific fraud, etc. in the scientific literature but the system generally works.

          2. sprograms

            Re: confidentiality clause

            "No vaccine for YOU." -Seinfeld-inspired.

            1. jmch Silver badge

              Re: confidentiality clause

              "No vaccine for YOU."

              Certainly not yet. 20k subjects on a test means that, for all the checks done, this is still a beta product that would not have been approved were it not an emergency situation. Certainly for millions of people at-risk from covid, the risk-reward profile is still towards taking the vaccine.

              For me, in any case I am thankfully very far down the priority list for available vaccine anyway. By the time I become eligible there should be a better picture of the vaccine safety profile

              1. Jim Whitaker

                Re: confidentiality clause

                Or you may be dead?

                1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                  Re: confidentiality clause

                  At least they won't have to worry about vaccine safety.

                  1. balrog

                    Re: confidentiality clause

                    nobody died from the vaccine. 0.1% of covid infections lead to death. You do the math.

                    1. TheFifth

                      Re: confidentiality clause

                      If only 0.1% of Covid infections lead to death, how come 0.15% of the UK population have already died from it?

                      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

                        Re: confidentiality clause

                        If the official figures for infections are accurate (i.e. positive tests), then about 5.7% of the UK population have been infected. If 0.15% of the population have died from it, then the mortality rate from those figures is 2.6%, not 0.1%.

                        Given that a number of asymptomatic infections won't have had a positive test (and the lateral flow tests have quite a high false negative rate), it is a reasonable suggestion to make that the true number of infections is higher than 7.5%, so the mortality rate in reality is probably lower.

                        Studies of mortality rate show it to be somewhere between 0.8% and 1.6%. It is probably somewhere towards the lower end of this, because those studies are unlikely to be adjusted for asymptomatic infections, which you wouldn't know about unless you were conducting population-wide testing. Which we could have done if the government hadn't spewed all the cash into their failed "test track and trace" programme instead.

                        The new "UK" strain is purportedly more deadly, by about 60%, so that mortality rate for the new strain could be around 1-2%

                        I haven't seen anything anywhere that suggests 0.1%. Unless we are talking about the mortality rate in the population as a whole once it is all over. And as the previous poster has pointed out the total number of deaths in the UK is now almost at 0.16% of the population. Or, to put it another way, one person in 628, which means by now most people will know someone who has died from it.

                        1. TheFifth

                          Re: confidentiality clause

                          I know exactly where the 0.1% figure came from. It was one of Toby Young's stream of false claims (along with 'having the common cold can give you immunity to Covid 19' and 'there won't be a second wave, Covid will fade away'). It seems he's deleted most of his 2020 tweets. Obviously doesn't want the evidence of him being wrong time and time again hanging around.

                          Latest estimates put the total number of people who have had the infection in the UK at around 1 in 5 (this includes adjusting for asymptomatic / untested cases). So given the current death figures, it looks likes we're at around 0.8-1%, so the mortality studies look about right. The new strain is thought to be 1.3-1.4%.

                          1. veti Silver badge

                            Re: confidentiality clause

                            There was a theory, which was arguably plausible for a couple of months last year - from approximately mid-March to mid-May - that the detected cases were only the tip of the wossname, and there were actually likely to be 10-20 times as many people running around undiagnosed. Therefore, the overall mortality would be much lower than previously estimated.

                            This theory started to look untenable roundabout the time New Zealand successfully eliminated its first wave, a feat that wouldn't have been possible if the "undiagnosed reservoir" hypothesis were true. It received further blows from studies (Stockholm's was the first I heard about) to determine what proportion of the population had naturally-generated COVID antibodies in their blood, as a way of estimating how many people had already had the disease.

                            All these studies, unanimously, have shown that the official reported figures (at least in reasonably well run and resourced countries, like Sweden and the UK) are, if not perfect, then at least pretty good. Certainly not an order of magnitude short.

                            But you know how it goes - you hear a talking point you want to believe, and you'll be happily repeating it for months if not years afterwards, without ever stopping to check how thoroughly it's been debunked in the meantime.

                        2. SAdams

                          Re: confidentiality clause

                          Apart from asymptotic cases, one reason that your numbers are off for the UK is that anyone who dies after a positive covid test is recorded as a Covid death, presumably even if they were run over by a car. This is different from the way other countries measure it.

                          1. Anonymous Coward
                            Anonymous Coward

                            Re: confidentiality clause

                            Noooooo..! It's not car crashes that's killing all these people it's the meteorite strikes wot done it!

                            (At least make your conspiracy story totally ridiculous, instead of merely exposing your - admittedly excusable - weakness in statistics and probability)

                    2. terry2

                      Re: confidentiality clause

                      No idea where you got that 0.1% from. The original data from china said (as I recall) "0.9% of the normal population plus a much higher number (about 15%) of people with pre-existing conditions".

                      As someone who is elderly but without pre-existing conditions. I have been looking for a meaningful age distribution that covers me but failed.

              2. Wilco

                Re: confidentiality clause

                "Certainly not yet. 20k subjects on a test means that, for all the checks done, this is still a beta product that would not have been approved were it not an emergency situation"

                Please stop spreading misinformation. 20,000 participants is a very large clinical trial, which you can easily check by searching pubmed for "phase III clinical trial vaccine".You won't find many trials with more participants

                1. stiine Silver badge

                  Re: confidentiality clause

                  I think you'll find that because for normal, every-day, clinical trials, the manufacturers have to search hear and yon for victims, i mean participants. Today, they only have to sneeze.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Null and void

      In any case, I believe you may have overlooked the new vaccine export controls. How would you get the EU-produced AZ vaccine outside the EU?

      1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

        Re: Null and void

        If the EU did that, it wouldn't be able to import the components it needs to make the vaccines which come from places like Britain.

        This is probably why the EU backed down in such a spectacularly embarrassing way

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Null and void

          The embarrassing emergency climbdown was because they'd activated the Northern Ireland emergency protocol without bothering to inform Dublin. I mean they also hadn't told London and so actually broke the terms of the Brexit agreement by not informing them via the joint committee - doing it by press release. But it was the shock of the hideous incomptence was that caused them to back down so fast, not long-term thinking.

          As for the regulation itself, I'm not sure it was initially intended to be used as an export ban. Certainly the public statements from the Commission were that it was to force vaccine producers to give data on what they've exported since December, and I guess to deter them from exporting too much now - as it would become publicly embarrassing. However the rumour was that the German and French government were pushing for the Commission to be even tougher, and the only reason I can think that they didn't just enact an information reg first was either panic or that they were lying and planning to use the full powers from the start.

          They'd also be cutting off supplies to Australia, Canada, Japan and South Korea if they did the full export ban. The claim was that it was also only to be companies behind on their contracts, but of course that's all of them - as Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca have all cut supplies by large amounts as they desperately try to scale up production at massive speed.

          Pfizer bet the EU wouldn't do this, so put their global production there, as Trump's US wouldn't let them export, so the US plants are making US doses only. I don't know about Moderna. AstraZenaca went for multiple separate supply chains, to try and limit this. Though Australia's plants are still ramping up, so their roll-out was going to begin with EU supplied AZ doses, and everyone on my above list gets their Pfizer from the EU. Japan have their own AZ supply chain, don't know about South Korea. AZ are also producing in China, India, the US, Britain and Brazil.

          1. Outski Bronze badge

            Re: Null and void

            “You know you have fucked up on an epic scale when Sinn Féin, the DUP and the Archbishop of Canterbury are united in condemning you,” an EU source conceded of the extraordinary events that soon transpired.

            https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jan/31/how-eus-floundering-vaccine-effort-hit-a-fresh-crisis-with-exports-row

            Regarding Pfizer, Moderna and AZ cutting supplies so they can scale up the manufacturing plants, that may be so for the first two, but, as I understand it, AZ's Belgian plant has a problem with its filtration systems, meaning it's only producing 25% of expected output, so the EU want AZ to divert a proportion of the UK plant's output to make up the shortfall. As a committed remainer, my considered opinion on this is "off you naff!"

            1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

              Re: Null and void

              Indeed. Even as an avid remainer, I am quite willing to concede that the EU is far from perfect. I'm just of the general opinion that it is less imperfect than Westminster, and, on the whole, EU governance is done in favour of the interests of its citizens, rather than lobbyists. A big part of this is down to the fact that MEPs are elected via PR, which means that the EU parliament is formed from people who have to work together to get stuff done, whereas Westminster has FPTP, which means one party takes all and never has to compromise, except with its financial backers.

              1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

                Re: Null and void

                That's a naive take on PR vs FPTP.

                Realistically in FPTP if a country turns on a government, that government gets kicked out. In PR, the leading coalition member runs the country forever. Their policies shifting at the edges to buy the minor parties support.

                1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

                  Re: Null and void

                  Sure, it's complex than can be captured in a short post, and I'm sure people would stop reading well before the end if we went into all the fine detail.

                  I think the essence is, though, that FPTP systems tend to lead to highly polarised 2-party systems, like we have in the UK, and in the US, where you end up with two camps that are so firmly opposed to each other that they can never meet in the middle-ground. PR tends to lead to coalitions, where you still have someone nominally in charge, but they do have to get the consent of their minor partners to get big changes through. In theory, in such a system, disasters like Johnson's ultra-hard brexit, which is only just starting to unwind, wouldn't get forced through so easily, as you wouldn't only have a single opposition party, which has to pick a single view-point and stick with it. Which is largely why Labour has been railroaded into the position of not having a position, which is useless for everyone.

                  In other words, in FPTP systems, you end up with the party that can get a slim majority taking all. In the case of the last election, this means a 70-seat majority for the Tories when they didn't even get 45% of the vote. They can then enact policies that the majority of the populus didn't actually want, or vote for, with impunity. The combination of the fixed-term parliament act, and the majority they have, means that they can then stay in power for at least 5 years, and can essentially call an election before then if they feel like public opinion is in their favour. Meanwhile, a sizeable portion of the public has no representation at all. If you support a minor party, like the Lib-Dems, Greens, or whatever Fartage's nationalists are calling themselves today you basically have no say, and populists can exploit this resentment in all these groups.

                  1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

                    Re: Null and void

                    FPTP also sort of work with coalitions, but in the opposite way to an actual coalition.

                    The way small parties make a difference is that they take or threaten to take votes from the two major parties.

                    So in the case of Brexit, it was a popular thing and the Conservatives were bounced into it by many of the Conservatives voters threatening to back UKIP.

                    The Tories in this case worked out that taking UKIP's main policy on board would gain/keep it more votes than it would lose. That's FPTP in action.

                    > In the case of the last election, this means a 70-seat majority for the Tories when they didn't even get 45% of the vote

                    In theory that's a problem, but in reality the shifting preferences of the British public are broadly represented through FPTP.

                    If we're free from Corona by August but Europe is still going through lockdowns, Boris will win the next election handsomely. If the government manages to make a ballsup of it now, they will probably lose the next election.

                    That's a reasonable way for an electoral system to work.

                    What you personally think about actually leaving the EU is irrelevant. The government won an election on the basis of leaving the EU and how they were going to leave it.

                    If Corbyn had been able to successfully argue for a different solution then he would be PM and everybody would have an allotment whether they want one or not.

        2. nematoad Silver badge

          Re: Null and void

          "This is probably why the EU backed down in such a spectacularly embarrassing way"

          No.

          The EU backed off because the people in Brussels who cooked up this plan did not take into account the dreadful effect of their actions on the Good Friday Agreement and the NI Brexit Accords . It was swiftly pointed out, by Dublin, London and Belfast, that what they thought was merely a technical matter was in reality a massive threat to the peace in Northern Ireland and thank goodness the decision was swiftly reversed.

          Ignorance is no excuse and for the bureaucrats in Brussels to make such an elementary error of judgement is appalling and really calls for an investigation into how it was made. Without, it must be said, informing either Dublin. London or any other EU member. If that had been done none of this would have happened.

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: Null and void

            Mostly the EU didn’t give a crap about the Good Friday Agreement. And never have. It was always a tactical device to give them more leverage in the brexit negotiations. And this demonstrates it. As did comments by senior figures in Barnier's team. Weyand, his deputy at the time, said that once May signed the original backstop the Commission could use it to force the UK to stay in the Common Customs area forever. Is that negotiating in good faith? Well she’s since been promoted to head of the Trade department, who drew up last Friday's regulation, along with the health department.

            Equally, after the final deal was signed last year, the Commission only agreed a temporary 6 month deal on allowing food shipments to NI supermarkets. One of Barnier's team briefed the EU ambassadors that this would be a one off to force NI shops to source their food from Ireland. If they understood Good Friday they’d know the whole point is about not forcing either community into change without consent. And creating a difficult border with the rest of the UK is as damaging as doing so with Ireland. If Johnson and Gove play their cards right, this clusterfuck can be exploited to get that point across. If not, we should invoke the same procedure. Precedent has now been set.

            1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

              Re: Null and void

              The difference being we should be trying to keep both borders open. And cooperate with Dublin as much as possible. Not doing what the Commission has been trying for 4 years now, to create a border between NI and GB. I get the impression that the joint committee has started to work quite effectively, and believe this is the wake up call needed to get things sorted out more reasonably. If not, I don’t see the Brexit deal lasting more than a few years.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Null and void

                > The difference being we should be trying to keep both borders open.

                This seems to be what's happening on the ground. Checks on food stuffs are being halted in NI since it has become clear that its going to be unacceptable to portions of the community there and the results of that are all too predictable.

              2. ShadowDragon8685

                Re: Null and void

                > The difference being we should be trying to keep both borders open.

                There's a small, small issue with "keeping both borders open" - it creates a Northern-Ireland -sized and -shaped hole in the EU/UK border.

                It would be absolutely FANTASTIC to stimulate the economy of Northern Ireland beyond all expectations, mind you; everyone in Ireland with a truck or a boat would be making off like bandits, and anyone who has both will be making off like a robber baron.

                "Where'd you get these goods?" "London." "No worries then."

                Twenty-five minutes later at the NI border,

                "Where'd you get these goods?" "Belfast." "Ah, well, no worries then."

                And then a day later, in Paris,

                "Where'd these goods come from?" "Dublin." "Ah, wel, no worries then."

                1. codejunky Silver badge

                  Re: Null and void

                  @ShadowDragon8685

                  "It would be absolutely FANTASTIC to stimulate the economy of Northern Ireland beyond all expectations"

                  While it would be politically difficult for the EU (possibly UK but doubt it) I did suggest Ireland on the whole should have a trade agreement (UK/EU) where the border is kept down and both would obviously have access to both Unions. That way the GFA is resolved, neither the EU or UK territory is annexed and Ireland itself would be very prosperous.

                  Since there isnt a geographical border and a hard border isnt gonna work it could still have 'monitoring' for big breaches but as it was before brexit, they took advantage of the differing rules already and it was acceptable.

              3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

                Re: Null and void

                To be fair to the commission, I don't think they are responsible for the fact that the Good Friday Agreement stipulates an open border between NI and the Republic. That comes from "the Troubles", which historically are a problem very much of England's making. The history of the island of Ireland is long and bloody, but it rarely the fault of the Irish people that it is this way.

                Because of the need for an open border, and the international obligations that implies for free trade, it is the sheer bloody-mindedness and stupidity of the English government (and I use the word English, not British, because, although Gove is Scottish, brexit is primarily an English venture, with the rest of the union opposing it) who were determined for the UK to not be in the single market, for the single reason, it seems, that they want to play to the lowest-common denominators of the ill-educated racist "I don't like forriners" thugs.

                I can't see how any of this is the Commission's fault, and the offer of remaining in the common market was always on offer, which would largely solve many of the, frankly huge, problems this country is now experiencing as a result of pursuing an ideological hard brexit that has no interface with reality. Those are by no means limited to the issues of peace and trade in NI, but those issues may become much more visible in the near future. Meanwhile, several sectors of the economy here on this accursed isle are being systematically ruined as a result of Bloody Stupid Johnson's actions.

                1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

                  Re: Null and void

                  Can you point to where in the GFA it actually says there can't be a border?

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Null and void

                    The term "cross-border" appears 8 times in the 35-page document:

                    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-belfast-agreement

                    Clear for you now?

                    1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

                      Re: Null and void

                      Did you actually read it before posting that smug reply?

                      I've copied an pasted every instance of "cross-border" below.

                      including through implementation on an all-island and cross-border basis

                      in areas where there is a mutual cross-border and all island benefit,

                      to take decisions by agreement on policies and action at an all-island

                      and cross-border level

                      Matters where the co-operation will take place through agreed

                      implementation bodies on a cross-border or all-island level.

                      They will implement on an all-island and cross-border basis policies agreed in the Council.

                      6. Social Security/Social Welfare - entitlements of cross-border workers

                      and fraud control.

                      would also deal with all-island and cross-border co-operation on non-devolved issues.

                      between the two Governments on the all-island or cross-border aspects of these matters.

                      to develop consultation, co-operation and action within the island of Ireland - including through implementation on an all-island and cross-border basis

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Kobblestown

      Re: Null and void

      As a EU citizen I'm disgusted that anything in this contract was confidential to begin with.

      1. Persona Silver badge

        Re: Null and void

        The EU gets a better price for agreeing to keep the details confidential. AstraZeneca does not want low pricing details being public. It makes it hard to negotiate higher prices with future customers.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Null and void

          AstraZeneca are selling the bloody vaccine at zero profit! Everyone is paying roughly the same.

          Because AZ foresaw this risk, they’ve set up different supply chains in multiple jurisdictions. So that will cause price to vary a bit. The billion odd doses they Serum Institute are producing in India, are likely to be the cheapest.

          Also, the Commission are almost certainly lying about being the cheapest. They’ve agreed as part of this contract that AZ don’t have to pay the shipping, and that the EU are also paying for the bottling and that AZ can claim extra cash if they can prove they’ve had to lay out more than the initially estimated €395m. Which looks suspiciously like it’s been done to keep the price looking low. Though equally it could just be that the total EU vaccine budget was only about €3.5bn and this wasn’t enough to cover it. Easier to move some payments to member states than up the budget maybe?

          1. DJO Silver badge

            Re: Null and void

            AstraZeneca are selling the bloody vaccine at zero profit!

            Such naivety will make the AZ board very happy.

            Firstly the development costs were not paid by AZ, secondly the "No profit price" is a very limited offer which ends in a few months.

            If for one millisecond you think the pharmaceutical companies are not in this for profit, I have a selection of bridges you might be interested in buying.

            Obviously they want to get the vaccine out, no doubting that - It's excellent PR but on a purely cynical approach, dead people don't buy any medicines.

            1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

              Re: Null and void

              DJO,

              AZ didn’t pay the development costs, and were only granted the license to the patents on condition they sell at no profit. The EU contract even allows some clawback of their initial payments from AZ, plus it’s an open book contract, the EU have the right to audit their accounts.

              They may make a few quid, as they’re allowed to charge reasonable expenses for head office time, but it’s nothing significant.

              What they do gain is a free pass into vaccine development. AZ weren’t a vaccine manufacturer last year. Now they are. If they choose to stay in the market, they’ll have gained much experience from this, and it’s a growing area of global demand. Technology has advanced rapidly, and I think government money will follow.

              Sometimes affecting a world weary cynicism doesn’t actually make you look clever.

              1. DJO Silver badge

                Re: Null and void

                Sure as you say it's a win-win for AZ and it's good news they were able to get the vaccine out really quickly but it was not a philanthropic gesture by AZ.

                Check the small print, the "no profit" price is a limited duration offer and they get to decide when they ramp up the price. Even if they never do they have set up a vaccine development group for no cost to themselves which will reap massive dividends for them in the future.

                No criticism of AZ, assuming the vaccine works as advertised then kudos to them but never forget they are a commercial company and everything they do is governed by their bottom line as is to be expected of a commercial company.

                1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

                  Re: Null and void

                  DJO,

                  I don't believe you've got that quite right. As I understand it, AZ have signed an agreement to produce at cost. At least for developing countries. They will produce at cost for the duration of the pandemic for everyone and low-income countries will always get it at cost.

                  Johnson & Johnson have said they'll sell at cost for the duration of the epidemic, then can up their prices.

                  Pfizer and Moderna haven't. But then they were first out of the gate, and using a shiny new process - so they're not exactly a bad advert for the old market capitalism. Pfizer didn't take public money in order to be able to charge what they wanted.

                  But the point is that prices won't be going up by very much. In general there's very little profit in vaccines, that's one of the reasons we don't do enough vaccination. In this case there was large amounts of cash on offer and invitations to burn most of the red tape. So we got fast movement, plus several organisations and companies had foreseen the need for a Coronavirus vaccine, and thus already done some of the work. But you can't test the effectiveness of a vaccine on a disease that isn't causing widespread community transition, short of infecting your volunteers deliberately. Which is why even though Oxford had a theoretically working MERS vaccine, with a death rate of 30% and only a total of a few thousand cases from all outbreaks - there was no way they could ethically test the damned thing.

                  Once the emergency has calmed down, companies aren't going to be able to name their price - and so prices will fall. Even fully developed countries are struggling with the cold-chain that the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine needs - so they're going to have to re-design or drop their price, or they'll sell nothing by next year.

                  1. DJO Silver badge

                    Re: Null and void

                    "At cost" is really tricky to define, they will amortize the costs of setting up factories and training and employing the necessary staff into the "cost".

                    Of course that means afterwards they have a bunch of fully staffed facilities effectively free.

                    "the duration of the epidemic"

                    Another tricky one, there will always be C19 in the population and the R values will be different in every region so at what point is it over and who decides that the pandemic has passed. I suspect the small print on that one is very complicated indeed.

                    Again I'm not criticizing AZ, they've done a good job in getting the vaccine out but don't for a second think they are being philanthropic, they are a business and will always behave like one.

                    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

                      Re: Null and void

                      DJO,

                      I have read that the duration of the pandemic was taken to be until this July. As decided on in summer last year. But I’m not sure it’s been defined. And somewhere will still be mid pandemic then sadly.

                      As to AZ's contract in Europe, it’ll be under British or European accounting rules. Their contract is with AZ Sweden specifically. It’s only weird accounting standards in Silicon Valley that let you get away with amortising staffing costs over several years. And in the case of most of the vaccines, there hasn’t been time to build factories. The UK have paid for some new facilities, but I think all the manufacturing in Europe has been companies using their existing plants or sub-contracting to others.

                      There is nothing to see here. AZ are getting into a new gig, because vaccines is going to be a growing market. But there’s nothing untoward, and short of mass pandemic rush jobs like this, there’s never going to be huge profit in vaccines. They’re horrendously expensive to trial, hard to make, and nobody will normally pay more than a few dollars a dose. It’ll never be close to as profitable as the normal drug trade.

          2. Persona Silver badge

            Re: Null and void

            Apparently (well according to the Guardian) South Africa is paying $5.25 per shot yet European Union members will pay $2.16 (€1.78) for AstraZeneca's shots. I guess the meaning of "cost price" varies.

            1. Dazed and Confused

              Re: Null and void

              >Apparently (well according to the Guardian) South Africa is paying

              Up above somewhere someone posted about the EU covering the cost of bottling and distribution, the €1.78 figure is just for the stuff that ends up in your arm. They also paid (are due to pay. reports seem confused as to whether they've paid up their promise on time) for the production facilities.

              So the "at cost price" is going to vary.

            2. DJO Silver badge

              Re: Null and void

              European Union members will pay $2.16 (€1.78) for AstraZeneca's shots.

              Interesting.

              The UK has spent £11.7billion on vaccines.

              If all 66 million people in the UK get treated that works out to about £177 per person or £88.50 per dose.

              What happened is Boris backed every horse in the race. Try that at the Derby and yes you'll back the winner but you'll lose money big time.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Null and void

          "AstraZeneca does not want low pricing details being public. It makes it hard to negotiate higher prices with future customers."

          You're aware that AstraZeneca said it would make the vaccine available **at cost price** for the duration of the pandemic, and for free to the poorest nations, right..?

      2. MrZoolook

        Re: Null and void

        As a non-EU citizen, I'm disgusted that the EU can't abide by their own data security regulations.

        1. FeepingCreature

          Re: Null and void

          As an EU citizen, data security is not about keeping the government's data secret from the voters.

          1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Null and void

            As an EUUK citizen, data security is not about keeping the government's data secret from the voters.

            icon; a close call between this and the black helicopter icon

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Null and void

            "As an EU citizen, data security is not about keeping the government's data secret from the voters."

            As an EU citizen maybe you're not aware of the reasoning of Sir Humphrey. Keeping stuff secret from the voters is the sole reason for an government security.

  4. James12345
    Facepalm

    And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

    The title says it all really.

    3...2...1... and here come the Remoaners

    PS - Will the ICO be able to fine the EU for this data breach?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

      > PS - Will the ICO be able to fine the EU for this data breach?

      No. It's a contractual matter not anything the ICO is responsible for enforcing.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

        And not PII.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

          PII is a term of US origin. Did you mean "personal data"? The latter is commonly held to be wider / more encompassing than the former.

    2. Blazde Silver badge

      Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

      If data blunders by government are reason to leave a union then the UK is certainly finished.

    3. LogicGate

      Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

      You might want to re-check your timelines:

      https://www.politico.eu/article/uk-coronavirus-vaccine-astrazeneca-export-boris-johnson/

      To me, the EU appears to be the reacting party in this situation.

      The fact that BOJO decided to turn the UK into a giant petri-dish for the breeding of new strains did not do much to defuse the situation either.

      1. serendipity

        Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

        Your link doesn't really support your argument. It simply states that the government banned several drugs that were/are intended to be used by the NHS from being exported for a profit. There's nothing stopping companies specifically making drugs for export and exporting those. The article also points out that the EU has banned exports of medical products well. It relates how France refused to allow PPE to be exported to its EU neighbours. And it also notes that the ramping up of export bans were at least part in preparation for the possibility of a no-deal BREXIT. No the real point here, is that the EU was slow to get it's act together and was months behind the UK in securing vaccine supplies. A little trade spat with the UK and AstraZeneca is a good way of diverting attention from their own cock-up.

        But that said, now would be a good time IMO, in the interests of future EU relations, for the UK government to offer to help the EU with supplies, particularly as BOJO seems have secured a massive supply of vaccines for the UK.

        1. Snowy
          Facepalm

          Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

          That would be the case Serendipity, but if BOJO offers to help the EU now some people will say he is being weak giving in to EU pressure. A no win situation for him.

          1. Trigonoceps occipitalis Silver badge

            Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

            Like or loath Brexit, The UK can now trade with the world without the dead hand of the EU on the tiller. In my view the correct use of any surplice UK vaccines is donation to the third world free of any conditions save that it is not to be sold to citizens or other countries. That is the way to curtail Covid.

            1. nematoad Silver badge
              Headmaster

              Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

              "...correct use of any surplice..."

              ...is to be worn during the performance of a religious ceremony. Surplices are worn by clergy and choristers.

              The word you are looking for is "surplus".

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

                If there's one thing we've learned, you are on a hiding to nothing trying to educate these lot.

                1. 080

                  Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

                  "If there's one thing we've learned, you are on a hiding to nothing trying to educate these lot."

                  Surely you mean " this lot"

                  1. sev.monster Bronze badge

                    Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

                    I think you mean these's lots.

                    Not to be confused wit the two youts.

              2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

                The word you are looking for is "surplus".

                Also the collective noun for accountants. An accountant once told me "This business has a surplus of accountants".

        2. Wellyboot Silver badge

          Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

          Eventually there will be massive over supply for the UK, however, at the moment it appears to be going from manufacturing to injection in a fairly small time frame wherever you look. By the time UK production is excess of actual daily requirements1 the EU will also be getting quite a large amount of the 2Bn+ doses they've ordered.

          As people are continuing to die (daily in thousands), combined efforts to increase manufacturing output by our national leadership would be more beneficial than indulging in cheap headline grabbing actions.

          The EU has placed orders with AstraZenica, CureVac, Johnson&Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer & Sanofi. So far AZ + Pfizer are ramping up deliveries2, J&J + Moderna will be soon. CurVac started phase 3 in December (possible vaccine in late summer) and Sanofi is due to start Phase 3 in a few months time (possible vaccine at the end of the year). One could argue given the known time frames for these last two, their production facilities should have immediately been made available for conversion to make vaccines that have already passed approval.

          Existing vaccine manufacturing facilities across the world have been sized to accommodate the usual needs of mostly healthy3 populations because they are very expensive to set up and different vaccine types need different manufacturing processes. It takes governments to prioritise the resources needed to repeat build the infrastructure quickly in the same way that hospital capacity has been increased over the last year.

          1decided by clinical need & ethics.

          2I'd like to think the UK wouldn't have indulged in demanding AZ divert EU produced vaccine to the UK had the positions been reversed. as a side note, whichever euromuppet authorized the 'Border controls in Ireland' announcement displayed a monumental ignorance of the current situation, this is the first time in my memory (possibly history) that every politician in the UK & Ireland has given the same response (basically, WTF, are you mad?).

          3and can pay but that's just business.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

            "One could argue given the known time frames for these last two, their production facilities should have immediately been made available for conversion to make vaccines that have already passed approval."

            Two French labs have paused their own vaccine trials. They are now going to licence one already being rolled out. There is much anguish about that decision in France - the home of Louis Pasteur.

            1. Piro

              Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

              Well, they have Pasteur, but we have Edward Jenner..

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

              "They are now going to licence one already being rolled out."

              Pfizer/BioNTech :)

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

          3. Neil 44

            Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

            I believe that the Sanofi - Glaxo vaccine trial has been aborted because it didn't work well enough. (https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/sanofi-gsk-covid-vaccine-trials-b1769865.html)

            Its also going to get more difficult to run large scale trials now that vaccines are being licensed: if there is a licensed vaccine in a country, it is unethical to give 1/2 your trial participants "not a vaccine" (beit placebo or another vaccine - eg the meningitis vaccine the Oxford team used in the UK arms of the trial)

            Certainly growing and producing the Oxford/AZ vaccine isn't "simple" as it requires growing cells that have complex requirements (you can find out about the process by looking at the various publications on the ChAdOx vector that have been published over the years). It probably isn't something all of the "traditional" vaccine makers have the environment to do . BUT the places that CAN make it are getting better at it. The Serum Institute of India are also working on it ) and are the biggest maker of vaccines in the world - they are focusing on India to start with (https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/serum-institute-of-india-to-focus-on-supplying-covid-19-vaccine-to-india-first/article33163262.ece)

          4. hoola Silver badge

            Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

            I may be wrong, but from what I understand about the different vaccinations there are differences that make some more suitable in varying environments.

            The single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine is going to be better in developing countries where trying to do repeat doses is challenging. In the longer term it may also be a more useful tool globally but we are a long way from that yet. The focus has to be on getting the amount of effective vaccination cover ramped up as quickly as possible. If that means that a product is more appropriate for developing countries then that is where the bulk of it should go.

            However you look at this there is a short term and long term issue. We are just dealing with the short term at the moment as that is the only option. This buys time for improvements to the vaccines and how booster jabs or enhanced protection can be developed and delivered.

          5. Xamol

            Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

            The EU is being slated for wanting to stop vaccines from being exported after finding out that the supply they signed up for will not be arriving according to the expected timeline. Are they at fault for wanting to prioritize EU citizens over UK citizens?

            If you answer yes, then what's your position on the UK decision to insist on having priority over other countries for the AZ vaccine and having that written into the contract? Isn't that the same thing, only pre-meditated?

            Like it or not, the UK and EU governments have a responsibility to their own citizens before other countries. If any country decides to donate vaccines (or anything else) to another country then it's done with one or two things in mind; party/personal politics and international diplomacy (in that order). If it were otherwise, every country would already be receiving an equal number of doses per capita.

            1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

              Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

              The EU have a responsibility to the rule of law.

              Fortunately for the citizens of the EU, they backed down.

            2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

              Xamol,

              It should be pointed out that the UK has been the biggest contributor to both GAVI and CEPI (which we helped found) for 20 years - the two global organisations that have been working on vaccine research and buying supplies for developing countries. We've also tended to fund the WHO rather generously.

              In fact at the last funding round for GAVI, to buy doses of coronavirus vaccine for the developing world, the UK put in £500 million and pledged another £1 for every £4 that the rest of the world put up. Which meant we bunged in another £240m-odd - plus another few million from the first funding round. Which means that we've given more in total to global covid vaccine development than the entire EU put together, since last year.

              That also ignores that we gave a bunch of cash to The Serum Institute in India to help set up their prodicution process for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. As well as paying to set up production for them in the UK - unlike the EU who simply did an advance purchase at cost-price - we funded the actual development and testing program. Which I think was another £60m-odd.

              Our government also funded the trials for a bunch of other vaccines, as well as ordering early and at reasonable prices so other companies could get on with making the damned stuff.

              This is one area where the UK can definitely blow it's own trumpet. We've spent more per head of population on vaccine development than any other country, we've worked to set up both local and global supply chains and we've bought more doses than we need to get supply going so we can donate once we've got good supplies for our market. The only countries that have made similar efforts to get global vaccine development going were the US (who spent massively and early), but mostly only set up home production - and China who've exported an awful lot of doses of the SinoVac drug - but there are serious questions on the testing of that, given that very little has been published and the standard of some of the trials was questionable. In the end I suspect that it, and the Russian Sputnik will both turn out to be safe and reasonable effective, it's just that they've been used as such political footballs that it's hard to know.

              The EU have given much less funding to research and didn't help as much to set up production in the EU - except that they ordered in advance, but most of their orders were placed in November last year - when we already knew which vaccines would work. Hence production being slower. The EU also didn't do as much to help set up global supply chains.

              British governments for the last twenty years have been investing, and continually growing investment into global vaccination. And when the pandemic hit the British government chucked huge amounts of money at vaccines for both us and the world. I don't think it unreasonable that we keep our output of the Oxford vaccine (the first 100k doses) when we also helped fund the global supply chain set-up and were the largest donor to Covax, which is the WHO's common purchase plan for poorer countries. For once everyone should agree: Go us!

          6. Jean Le PHARMACIEN

            Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

            Re your subnote 2; I, for one, are QUITE sure there would have been an outcry in the right wing press demanding that UK impounded vaccines destined for the EU and headlines of "EU killing UK pensioners"

            Boris would then appear at his "coronavirus briefing" and announce that EU-headed vaccines would be retained and used in UK

        3. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

          @serendipity

          "But that said, now would be a good time IMO, in the interests of future EU relations, for the UK government to offer to help the EU with supplies"

          Why? From start to finish of the vaccine procurement the EU has not only cocked up but they have done the usual EU process of making a deeper crisis out of a crisis. They are now talking about enacting wartime occupation of production. At no point is the EU being gracious or nice or deserving of any help until they learn to grow up.

          Remember we are 'plague island' to them, on top of needing to slap us down for daring to leave their club. The expectation of having to wait some time for the benefits of brexit materialising months before the end of the transition period. An amusing suggestion I heard was for us to offer the British army to do vaccinations in the back of Chinook helicopters with British flags stamped on everything for the French.

          But this is just incompetence of the EU where they need to wait for the logistics to be worked out (apparently they are short of raw materials) which was figured out in the UK because we signed the damn contracts 3 months before. Have the EU even approved the vaccines yet?

          When the EUSSR is talking about seizing the production because the private companies are rightfully fulfilling contracts by law the foolish dream that those lot are our friends needs to be dropped. We should only consider helping them when they stop their frothing venom for the UK. Hell maybe now is a good time to suggest that since they have difficulty with our existing brexit agreement we should revisit it.

        4. Radio Wales
          Devil

          Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

          Strikes me that the EU must be extremely bloody remiss by trailing the world-class torpidity of Boris in anything at all.

          Nevertheless, I always wanted to use this icon.

      2. James12345
        Black Helicopters

        Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

        Can't wait to hear how BoJo is also responsible for the South African, the Spanish, the Denmark, the Brazilian, the Nigerian, the Kenyan, and the Malaysian strains.

        1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

          The Boris Bug is a world beater though!

        2. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

          By not closing our borders?

        3. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

          Re: the South African, the Spanish, the Denmark, the Brazilian, the Nigerian, etc. strains

          I thought the reason for calling it Covid 19 was to get rid of any accusations of national finger-pointing. And here we are again.

          They should be calling them Covid 21A, 21B, etc.

          1. James12345
            Facepalm

            Re: the South African, the Spanish, the Denmark, the Brazilian, the Nigerian, etc. strains

            Ken, The list was there to highlight that mutations occur all over the place, in response to LogicGate's ridiculous attempt to blame mutations on BoJo.

            But it is important to not forget that it's all just variations of the Wuhan flu. ;o)

            1. LogicGate

              Re: the South African, the Spanish, the Denmark, the Brazilian, the Nigerian, etc. strains

              Dear James,

              I did not blame BoJo for all mutations.. However, mutations are a numbers game, and if you let high numbers of incidences occur, then you are more likely to create new and dangerous mutations..

              The current UK government is behind:

              "Herd immunity approach"

              "Keep NHS beds available by sending un-tested and covid infected elderly back into elderly homes - Approach"

              "Eat out to help out-approach"

              To ignore the fact that the current UK government has done an incredible bad job at keeping the numbers down is to overlook obvious statistics. And before you come with the "but Belgium" argument, Belgium over-counts to be on the safe side, while the UK has been (may no longer be) under-counting.

              I may be mis-informed, but from what I see, countries that did not manage to keep the numbers down, jumped on potential medical solutions as early as possible, maybe in some cases too early (ref: the mango menace). By trying to get ahead of the rest, these nations can create a run on available vaccines, to the detriment of everybody. My impression is the the US has been leaning on Pfizer, so that Pfizer vaccines produced in the US go mostly to the US, leaving the EU production to supply the rest of the world, including the UK.

              Now, the EU ordered large numbers of Oxford vaccines. The available numbers that were to be delivered to the EU has been revised down twice now, leaving almost nothing, while the numbers being made available to the UK appears to have been increased in the same time. If this is correct, then this smells.

              https://youtu.be/dyKjyCdnf_E (note; not un-biased)

              At the same time, the tone of commenting seen in BBC articles as well as here now, is horrible to behold. So much vitriol, hatred and glee at perceived misfortune of others /

              I have not sensed a similar tone on the opposite (EU) side. It is more a sense of sorrow, like watching a beloved family member succumb to serious mental illness.

              I trace it back to Brexit, which in my opinion, was a horrible idea, living of the all to easily accepted lie of victim-hood (another thing the mango menace has also proven very adept at).

              The EU vaccine plan, with it's issues, was aimed at solving this problem cooperatively, and not leaving the weaker members behind. I personally find this a noble effort, not worth the spiteful comments seen albove.

              1. werdsmith Silver badge

                Re: the South African, the Spanish, the Denmark, the Brazilian, the Nigerian, etc. strains

                LogicGate seems to be taking the tabloid/faecebook approach.

                1. LogicGate
                  Coat

                  Re: the South African, the Spanish, the Denmark, the Brazilian, the Nigerian, etc. strains

                  "3...2...1... and here come the Remoaners"

                  " Stick a fork in the EU It's done!"

                  My initial comment was the result of the UK media that I saw ignoring certain aspects of the case, creating a rather self-righteous image of the situation.

                  Posting after a 12h workday may have been unwise.

                  Ill leave this be now, and hope that future discussions can be more productive.

                  1. Lars Silver badge
                    Coat

                    Re: the South African, the Spanish, the Denmark, the Brazilian, the Nigerian, etc. strains

                    "....and hope that future discussions can be more productive.".

                    Some effort here:

                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyKjyCdnf_E

                  2. sabroni Silver badge

                    Re: creating a rather self-righteous image of the situation.

                    Check the upvotes. It's worked.

              2. Justthefacts

                Re: the South African, the Spanish, the Denmark, the Brazilian, the Nigerian, etc. strains

                “ The available numbers that were to be delivered to the EU has been revised down twice now, leaving almost nothing, while the numbers being made available to the UK appears to have been increased in the same time. If this is correct, then this smells.”

                But, it isn’t correct.

                AZ originally *offered* the EU vaccine doses made in the U.K., in August, and the EU turned it down. The Commission decided that it was more important to site the vaccine factory in Belgium, than how effective it was at making a vaccine.

                . AZ has no manufacturing capability in Belgium. So the EU specified a Belgian vaccine factory (Novasep), and paid AZ to do a tech transfer there. *This* is the current “AZ EU deliverable vaccine”. When you stand up a factory from scratch, not surprisingly it is slower than a fully streamlined production facility in the U.K., which is what we are getting in the UK

                1. Citizen99

                  Re: the South African, the Spanish, the Denmark, the Brazilian, the Nigerian, etc. strains

                  I'm surprised that this detail hasn't been mentioned in the 'mainstream media'. It blows the EU's position 'right out of the water' even before considering the contractual parts of the agreement.

                  1. codejunky Silver badge

                    Re: the South African, the Spanish, the Denmark, the Brazilian, the Nigerian, etc. strains

                    @Citizen99

                    "I'm surprised that this detail hasn't been mentioned"

                    I wouldnt be shocked if its been lost in the cesspool of EU actions over this. I am yet to see anything redeeming for the EU over the vaccine procurement. The EU again took a crisis and made it worse.

              3. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: the South African, the Spanish, the Denmark, the Brazilian, the Nigerian, etc. strains

                EU citizen here. I can confirm that no one in my circle of acquaintances and no one I've read about in the media has taken or takes any pleasure from hearing about more Brits getting sick or dying, be it from the older strain or from the newer and more virulent British strain which is by the way now firmly established here as well. This means we all have people getting sick and dying and are all just trying to get or keep those numbers down.

                To put it as clearly as possible, we (EU) as far as I am able to tell, collectively wish you Brits no ill. I don't understand the vitriolic comments i have seen, here (a few) and elsewhere.

                1. Old Tom

                  Re: vitriolic comments

                  The vitriolic comments are a reaction to Ursula von der Leyen's comments and behaviour. Slagging off AZ, raiding the production site, threatening the UK's supply of Pfizer/Biontech, putting a border between Ireland/NI. Behaving like a tantrum-infused child in reaction to her/the Commission's own failure.

                  That border provision is supposed to be a last resort and she's taken less than 4 weeks to abuse it. Furthermore she did it against advice, and without consulting - or even informing - relevant parties (Irish Taoiseach, UK PM, NI Executive).

                  She's been asserting a contractual situation that is not borne out by the now-published contract with its Estimated Delivery Schedule. If she were to resign, I'm sure things would calm down much quicker.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: vitriolic comments

                    The Torygraph has an article about this

                    https://uk.yahoo.com/news/calls-ursula-von-leyen-resign-181037538.html

                    As to resigning it seems that her native press are calling for that

                2. codejunky Silver badge

                  Re: the South African, the Spanish, the Denmark, the Brazilian, the Nigerian, etc. strains

                  @AC

                  "To put it as clearly as possible, we (EU) as far as I am able to tell, collectively wish you Brits no ill. I don't understand the vitriolic comments i have seen, here (a few) and elsewhere."

                  This is where there is an important distinction to be made between the EU and the countries/people in the countries. The EU toss-pot has been nothing but vitriol to the UK for leaving the little club. Anyone supporting leave has been accused of wanting our people to die because we didnt join the EU procurement initiatives. We are readily abused for not bending over for the EU and so we take great pleasure watching the EU expose itself exactly as we described and so spectacularly.

                  Compare that against the countries/people and we wish you no ill. In fact we are shocked the EU wants you to die so blatently. It is the EU banning vaccine from NI to ROI, or even anywhere else in the EU. That the EU would consider you so expendable is not surprising to us but the blatant disregard for you is sick.

                  I do wonder if members will wake up to this and we see more exits from the EU, but I wont hold my breath. Even if a member gets the courage they now have a mutual EU debt to strangle them with. My advice- get off the titanic, it is sinking.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: the South African, the Spanish, the Denmark, the Brazilian, the Nigerian, etc. strains

                    Same AC as before here: good grief!

                    Thanks but no thanks for the offer to "jump ship", but we EU Citizens very much prefer this ship* more than ever before.

                    *support for EU membership has surged across the EU since BREXIT.

                    1. codejunky Silver badge

                      Re: the South African, the Spanish, the Denmark, the Brazilian, the Nigerian, etc. strains

                      @AC

                      "Thanks but no thanks for the offer to "jump ship""

                      It wasnt an offer, it was advice. Take it or leave it. The decision isnt for anyone else its for you and your country to decide what is best for you guys. And again the distinction is important that while we have no love for the EU that doesnt mean we wish any ill will on the member countries nor their populations.

                      "but we EU Citizens very much prefer this ship* more than ever before."

                      I would imagine a group who want to leave the club would leave more people who want to be in the club (unless the whole thing was being deserted). But it will be interesting to see the popularity figures as the EU is making this crisis worse.

                      I wish you the best of luck.

          2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

            Re: the South African, the Spanish, the Denmark, the Brazilian, the Nigerian, etc. strains

            I thought the reason for calling it Covid 19 was to get rid of any accusations of national finger-pointing

            I think the whole world knows where it came from.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: the South African, the Spanish, the Denmark, the Brazilian, the Nigerian, etc. strains

              Bats.

              1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
                Happy

                Re: the South African, the Spanish, the Denmark, the Brazilian, the Nigerian, etc. strains

                Aren't we blaming the poor pangolins anymore? After all, if they'd stayed away from the bats, there'd have been no problem...

                Personally I think it was the dolphins. Never trust a species that smiles all the time.

          3. Peter2 Silver badge

            Re: the South African, the Spanish, the Denmark, the Brazilian, the Nigerian, etc. strains

            Re: the South African, the Spanish, the Denmark, the Brazilian, the Nigerian, etc. strains

            I thought the reason for calling it Covid 19 was to get rid of any accusations of national finger-pointing. And here we are again.

            Meaning no offence to anybody, but firstly we have been told for quite a long time that it is impossible to immunise against and eliminate the common cold because of how quickly the little bugger mutates. The common cold is a member of the corona virus family; that Covid19 would also mutate should not come as any great or horrible surprise.

            It is also noticeable that the countries looking for new strains are finding them. National finger pointing at the nations then finding them is stupid; the quickest way of reducing the detection of new strains would be to stop looking for them.

            This would of course have no benefit as it would stop the detection, not the propagation.

            1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

              Re: the South African, the Spanish, the Denmark, the Brazilian, the Nigerian, etc. strains

              The common cold isn't a member of the coronavirus family. The common cold is caused by a mess of many different viruses - including a couple of different coronaviruses. Basically it's a bunch of common-ish symptoms that we've labelled with the name of one disease - but is really several differnet ones. Which is why it was always so hard to vaccinate against.

              With this new vaccine technology, that might change. Although there are still risks to getting vaccinated, so I don't now if the cold viruses would be considered dangerous enough to make it worth the risk and expense.

        4. Xalran

          Strains, Strains, Strains, Strains.

          Come on, even if BOJO is a clown in this situation, he's got a little bit more brain thatn Trump and Bolsonaro and a few other that basically didn't do anything either on purpose or as a strategy(1)

          It's just bad luck that one very contaminating strain appeared in UK... it could have appeared anywhere else.

          Anyway, I saw a graphic several months ago and basically the virus we have been dealing with in Europe is a strain from the original one and is different from the one in Northern America and in Asia.

          Here it is : https://nextstrain.org/ncov/global

          (1) Strategy : The fastest we go the herd immunity the fastest we can go back to business as usual

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Strains, Strains, Strains, Strains.

            Not bad luck. Catastrophic ineptitude led to the initial strains of virus seeding into the country, creating a massive pool of sick people. The more a virus spreads, the more opportunity it has to mutate.

            UK appeared to be taking a health OR economy approach. They reacted late and didn't close borders.

            Look at countries that took the threat seriously (such as NZ, Australia, Taiwan, Vietnam). Their success in almost eliminating the virus has let the economy open back up. This required early hard lockdown as soon as what was happening in China/Italy/Iran became apparent and closing borders so that the existing problem could be dealt with without importing new cases. Citizens are allowed back in, but have to go into mandatory supervised quarantine.

            All these countries now have mostly functional economies. No widespread lockdowns, people at sports events, workers back in the office, schools open. There is some pain for the lack of overseas visitors, but the domestic economy is thriving. The absolute lesson to take from the pandemic is that you can't have a functional economy without handling the health situation first. Countries that have handled it badly have taken a worse economic hit than countries that went hard and early on control.

            Here in Australia, the case numbers are so low, they can be dealt with by local lockdowns and test & trace. A new case of the UK strain just cropped up in Perth in a worker in a quarantine hotel. this is the first community case in Western Australia in 10 months. The City has gone into an immediate 5 day full lockdown to asses the spread. Same thing happened in Brisbane a couple of weeks ago. Fortunately, it didn't spread past the first case.

            Most of my family and friends are back in the UK and I feel absolute despair and rage at the situation there. That fact that more people die there from COVID every day than during the entire pandemic in Australia makes my blood boil. The UK govt has screwed things up from day one and must be held to account once this is over. They campaigned so much about controlling the borders during Brexit but when some border control should have been done, it wasn't.

            1. Citizen99

              Re: Strains, Strains, Strains, Strains.

              I sympathise with your feelings, but would point out that, unlike Australia, the UK is both highly connected and within visual distance of the Eurasian landmass.

              BTW I have family in Brisbane.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Strains, Strains, Strains, Strains.

                Australia is also highly connected and had a lot of early cases due to the many Chinese contacts in Australia. IIRC there were actually more known cases in the first couple of weeks in Oz than in the UK.

                The UK might be in visual distance of Europe, but unless everyone decides to swim over you can still close borders. You have to stop importing new cases so that you can deal with the ones already there.

                Taiwan and Vietnam are both in visual distance of China, a land border in Vietnam's case. They still stopped the virus dead in its tracks with early, hard action.

                1. hoola Silver badge

                  Re: Strains, Strains, Strains, Strains.

                  It is all about geography and politics.

                  Remember that most of the infection into the UK came from Europe. It simply was not possible to" close our borders" in the way places like New Zealand have done. The initial focus was on China but nobody realised that due to the intransigence of the Chinese to admit they had a problem, it was already global.

                  Places like Vietnam have a very different political structure with a population that is largely complying with what their leaders tell them. That has not happened here and realistically could not be implemented without major constitutional issues.

                  All those countries that claim to be on top of COVID have only suppressed it. They cannot do anything without vaccinations in the same everyone else is.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Strains, Strains, Strains, Strains.

                    Please explain why it was not possible to close the borders? You are an island with fixed entry points. Isn't that what Brexit was all about? "Taking back our borders!"

                    France and much of Europe had no issues slamming their borders closed to the UK when the new variant was discovered.

                    You can do it in a way that still allows freight to flow. Here in Oz, we have internal borders. Different states have implemented different policies regarding the rest of the country. WA have had the hardest policy and their borders were closed to almost all traffic from everywhere else for months, but freight could still flow. You just need to have very strict rules about who the drivers can come into contact with.

                    Not closing the UK borders was a political decision. A terrible one. It is being implemented now (albeit in a half arsed manner, still allowing many countries entry).

                    Taiwan is a liberal democracy with extremely close ties to mainland China. Despite the political tensions there is a lot of trade and family contact between the two. However, due to their experience with SARS they had policies in place and slammed borders closed to China as soon as there was even a rumour about a new type of pneumonia. They also had a test and trace system ready to go.

                    Also, in Australia the disease has been effectively eliminated, not suppressed. All cases since the first infection phase have been due to escape from quarantine. Even the large number of cases in Victoria were caused by a quarantine escape and Victoria showed what needed to be done to eliminate it again with a 3 month hard lockdown. If the borders were completely closed there would not have been a case in Australia since last May but Citizens are coming home. Unfortunately, they bring the virus with them and it is so infectious it has been able to breach the quarantine in a few cases.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Strains, Strains, Strains, Strains.

                      The government seems to have this idea that if any measure isn't 'perfect' you shouldn't do it. And our actions at the border have been unbelievably complacent.

                      I travelled in the far east exactly a year ago, and in a country that had had 1 case people were already avoiding shaking hands, wearing masks on public transport and we were temperature scanned at the airport. Now temperature scanning is probably ineffective - but it's equally no-cost to set up. By mid summer we should have had temperature and pre-boarding and arrival testing, even if just lateral flow. Quarantine follow-up, even if it's just a daily phone call.

                      By the way - if anyone sees a world beating test and trace system, could they ask it to come home - it's been missing since mid 2020 and I'm worried it might be lost.

                    2. hoola Silver badge

                      Re: Strains, Strains, Strains, Strains.

                      What France and much of Europe did recently was far easier than what was possible at the beginning. There were not the millions of travellers from all over Europe to be repatriated or abandoned.

                      Yes, in theory it is easy to close one's borders if you are an island, however the UK, particularly at the beginning of this was part of the European block of countries (geographically, not politically). The focus was travel from China not Europe. COVID was pretty much established in Europe by the time anyone realised what was going on. By then it was too late. More recently with the South African variant the speed of the reaction has been abysmal but that it just how the Government works. They have been mostly reactive but in being reactive they have also delayed significantly so by the time they do react, it is now too late.

                      If the UK had done what Taiwan, New Zealand, areas of China had done at the outset, would we have been better off, possibly but unlikely, it was already here and established in the wider population. If, and it is a very big if, we had closed our borders, what then? Just how do you then feed a country when over 50% of the food is imported? Closing borders is much more than just stopping people coming in. You still have to get the goods in to enable the country to function and when a lot of that is on trucks it is a huge problem.

                      I agree that the entire quarantine thing has been a total fiasco and given the mentality of many of the British public it was a waste of time from the outset. Quarantine only works if the traveller is intercepted at the point of arrival and not permitted to go anywhere other than the quarantine location. The basic logistics and cost of that when there where hundreds of thousands still travelling is what stopped it. The final nail in closing borders is the amount of freight that comes into the UK. We pretty much import most stuff including huge quantities of food, much of which comes on lorries and there was not the political will or any way of sorting the logistics out in a timescale that was meaningful.

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: Strains, Strains, Strains, Strains.

                        The main point of ineptitude was that they saw what was happening in Italy, then did nothing for at least two weeks. That two weeks allowed the virus to seed round the country. If they had acted at the beginning there were a few hundred known cases and probably several thousand unknown. Exactly the same situation Australia found itself in. We had a large number of cases at the beginning caused by a cockup that allowed passengers off a cruise liner in Sydney that then travelled to every state and territory, spreading the virus. That is the time to lockdown and stop non citizens coming in. You can then deal with the cases you have without new cases arriving.

                        You can close borders to most travelers while still allowing freight. We still import stuff and states closed borders to each other, yet freight still flowed between them. If you have the political will you find a solution. Returning citizens need to go into supervised quarantine. We tried home isolation, but too many people didn't obey the rules.

                        Close borders as much as possible, short hard lockdown to treat known cases then you can open the country back up. Any new outbreaks are small and should be controllable with local measures.

                        The simple fact is that the UK and most European countries didn't take it seriously until it was too late. They didn't take the hard measures that were required and allowed massive seeding of the virus to spread round their populations.

                2. codejunky Silver badge

                  Re: Strains, Strains, Strains, Strains.

                  @AC

                  "a land border in Vietnam's case"

                  Recently they had to deal with a breakout of the virus. And that is with authoritarian clamping down us liberal democracies struggle to do.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Strains, Strains, Strains, Strains.

                    They have had a small localised outbreak which they should be able to control with test and trace and a local lockdown.

                    When you are getting tens of cases in a small area, these measures are effective. We saw this in NSW recently with the Northern beaches outbreak in Sydney. A quarantine escape led to the virus getting into the community there. Local lockdown of several suburbs along with a large testing campaign in the effected area got on top of it quickly. NSW has now been a couple of weeks with no new community cases, everything has opened back up and there were no deaths.

                    This approach is not possible when you have 20,000 new cases a day over the whole country.

                    Authoritarianism does not necessarily lead to the most effective response. Have a look at this link on research on which countries have handled the crisis the best.

                    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-01-28/new-zealand-tops-list-as-country-with-best-covid-response/13095758

                    Their conclusions were:

                    "Authoritarian regimes, on average, started off better — they were able to mobilise resources faster, and lockdowns came faster, but to sustain that over time was more difficult for them."

                    In contrast, many democracies initially responded poorly to the pandemic before "improving remarkably" after the first wave.

                    "The dividing line in effective crisis response has not really been about regime type but whether citizens trust their leaders and whether those leaders preside over a competent and effective state"

                    This last sums up why the UK has fared so badly. Bojo is far from competent and isn't trusted.

              2. John Robson Silver badge

                Re: Strains, Strains, Strains, Strains.

                Visual distance isn't close enough for transmission of covid...

                We are an island, and are only just now *thinking* about enforcing quarantine...

        5. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

          Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

          The South African strain of the Chinese virus? If we are allowed to "nationalise" the variant, may we nationalise the base form.

        6. sabroni Silver badge

          Re: Can't wait to hear how BoJo is also responsible......

          He's not responsible for creating them.

          He's responsible for leaving the borders of this island open for a year to let them all arrive.

          Stop making excuses. The UK have clearly fucked this up compared to other island nations. Boris is responsible, he's the PM.

          The fact he's funny should never have been qualification enough for the job.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Can't wait to hear how BoJo is also responsible......

            "Boris is responsible"

            Also irresponsible.

            One of the quirks of the English language.

        7. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

          Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

          Britain does 50% of the worlds genome testing of the virus. That's why it was found here.

        8. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

          "Can't wait to hear how BoJo is also responsible for the South African, the Spanish, the Denmark, the Brazilian, the Nigerian, the Kenyan, and the Malaysian strains."

          No-one said he was - I have no idea where you got that idea from. The fact that the policies pursued by the British government have lead to a high prevalence of the virus (and thus make mutations more likely to occur, especially as it's being put under evolutionary pressure by the vaccination programme) is not invalidated by the inability of some other states to effectively combat the virus.

          1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

            Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

            An alternative ( and factual ) take on this is that Britain does 50% of the entire worlds genome testing of this virus.

            Britain is, in the way that British governments always do, generously offering out this capability to the rest of the world.

        9. Radio Wales
          Facepalm

          Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

          He is not responsible for those strains existence, but he is responsible for their existence within our borders by not connecting international travel with the amazing ability of the virus to travel internationally.

      3. BenDwire
        Pint

        Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

        The fact that BOJO decided to turn the UK into a giant petri-dish for the breeding of new strains did not do much to defuse the situation either.

        I'm not completely convinced that the "Kent Strain" didn't float across the channel in the first place. The UK has offered to sequence the virus in other countries, either to help identify yet more strains, or shift the perceived blame elsewhere.

        Regardless of differing points of view, I think all parties involved* are displaying very poor behaviour. People are dying FFS.

        *Apart from AstraZenica and other vaccine manufacturers. They need to be treated like heroes. Beer for the boffins. Thank you.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

          The Kent strain did first spread its wings in Britain, though.

          The strain gaining momentum towards the tail end of the period of UK citizens being told different messages every week, including at one point that it was now their patriotic duty to eat out and mingle, may not be entirely coincidental.

          As you said, plenty of poor behaviour to go around. Xenophobia about virus origins is not helpful at this point.

          1. Radio Wales
            Flame

            Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

            Looking at the situation like this, I conclude that I am an evolved intelligent unit that is successful (so far) in keeping clear of the CV-19 (and new friends) infections - meaning I think about what I'm doing.

            Every time the government advocated a course of action to take, I ran that scenario past my own senses and experiences. If they agreed, I complied. If they didn't (Ex: Eating out) I declined to accept their take on it and continued to do it my common-sense way.

            I am helped in my decision-making exercises by the existence of large (but shrinking) numbers of people milling about outside my front-door who are convinced of their own immortality and happy to share any infections they may have.

            As long as these people continue to thumb their noses at the pandemic, so it will continue to thrive a situation aided by the diminished numbers of police to do anything about it. so for sensible people only their own common sense (and a few jabs) will see them through this latest scare.

        2. don't you hate it when you lose your account Silver badge

          Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

          The blame game for variants is pointless. Viruses mutate, fact. The more people infected increase the chance of mutation, fact. Idiots that don't follow the basic guidance on reducing transmission are just helping the speed of mutations, fact.

        3. aks

          Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

          This may be why the UK were the first to identify this strain.

          (paywall, but enough to get the idea and research further)

          https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-the-u-k-became-world-leader-in-sequencing-the-coronavirusgenome-11612011601

      4. TRT Silver badge

        Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

        The UK has in place an incredible virology service with huge genomic sequencing capacity. Around 10% of all the positive tests have been completely sequenced and the transcriptome calculated. These records have been linked to basic patient data such as age, sex, ethnicity, travel history etc. Further, where the source of the sample was a resident of Scotland, their hospitalisation records have been linked to the genomic data, which includes treatments and outcomes. How else do you think all these news stories about effectiveness of "oxygen therapy" and "steroid treatment" come out? The transcriptomes are also fed into structural protein modelling simulations using the UK and EU's massive HPC capacity - this is how we can determine the effect of mutations occurring in a protein's antibody target region, and the probably effect on vaccine efficacy.

        We're not a Petri dish. The WORLD is a Petri dish - the UK is the microscope and the scientist looking down it.

        1. airbrush

          Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

          The Chinese sequenced the virus in record time enabling all the vaccines, we can hardly take all the credit!

          1. James12345
            WTF?

            Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

            Given that the Chinese knew what was being worked in the Wuhan lab when the sh*t hit the fan, lets not give them too much credit for "helping" us out.

            1. Lon24 Silver badge

              Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

              According to a recent BBC documentary it was first sequenced in a Shenzen lab. The government attempted to suppress it but it 'leaked' out. The lab has been punished as a result. So kudos for the very brave and courageous Chinese scientists and doctors who risked their careers to share the sequences that were so quickly turned into lifesavers.

              1. TRT Silver badge

                Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

                Indeed. Though the point is that it wasn't the sequencing per se that was important, it was the isolation and identification of the pathogen. But without that clue, the world would have been probably two months later to the party. So a great debt is indeed owed to those scientists and doctors who spoke to the world instead of just their "superiors".

          2. TRT Silver badge

            Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

            There were UK virologists who already had the virus sequenced before it went zoonotic and jumped to humans. You think this virus just materialised de novo out of thin air? It has a history, a family tree.

          3. TRT Silver badge

            Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

            You also realise that the UK's virologists have for decades been scouring the globe collecting, sequencing & studying viruses from ALL manner of species, especially those which have the potential to impact world food supplies. Plant, animal and (if you want to draw that distinction) human viruses included. We ALREADY had the sequence; what we lacked was confirmation that the disease causing pathogen for the outbreak in Wuhan was the SARS-COV-2 strain aka COVID-19.

            I expect the next step is to run mutation Monte-Carlo's against what we've learned about how this species jump happens, and then try to spot where we can prepare new vaccine prototypes before they are needed. To be absolutely fair, we were already doing this before COVID, but of course funding on the scale we've seen this past year is usually dependent on an immediate problem rather than a theoretical one or a hypothetical prophylactic.

          4. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

            Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

            If only they hadn't covered it up, including sitting on the genome for an entire week.

    4. nematoad Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

      "3...2...1... and here come the Remoaners"

      For God's sake grow up. Leave won and now you are harping on about something that has been settled. Wrongly in my opinion as news is daily proving.

      I've heard of bad losers, but bad winners?

      1. James12345
        Thumb Up

        Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

        I think it will take about 4 more years until we are even on the bad looser/bad winner front.

    5. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

      So annoying.

      I'm a Remainer. I still think we're better off in the EU.

      But if the EU wanted to shore up the Brexiteers otherwise flimsy case for leaving, this is sure enough a good way to do it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

        This is just a contract dispute. Not everything is about Brexit. The contract defines the EU as including the UK, for the purposes of the relevant clause.

        1. Falmari Silver badge

          Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

          No it is not the relevant clause that includes the UK with the EU

          see post by @Jon 37

          "Clearly states the first batch is manufactured in EU, not UK"

          1. willcor

            Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

            I read 5.1 as saying the first batch should be bottled in the EU. 5.4 says the vaccine itself can be made in the UK if AZ chooses and the EU consents. Did the EU check with the UK before naming them as a third party in the contract ?

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

      Sorry, dude. Most people in the EU and about half in de UK know perfectly well why the UK left.

    7. Spanners Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

      here come the Remoaners

      There is nobody wanting to "stay in". That damage has been done. The preference for adults now is to return

      1. James12345
        Mushroom

        Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

        Maybe 48 out 100 adults want to return, but remember that of the adults who expressed an opinion, 52 out of 100 chose to leave.

        However, don't let me stop you pretending that everybody wanted to stay and now wants to go back if that makes you feel better.

      2. EvilDrSmith

        Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

        "The preference for adults now is to return"

        After the performance of the EU this weekend, very unlikely.

    8. tfb Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

      I can't imagine someone who thought brexit was a bad idea arguing that the EU haven't made a fairly spectacular mess of the whole vaccine thing so far: doing so would be just stupid.

      However they've also done a really significantly better job of keeping their citizens alive than the UK has: a short time ago the EU's death rate was about 1 in 1000 (449,395 deaths, population of 452,548,000), while the UK's is about 1.5 in 1000 (97,939 deaths, populaton of 66,647,100). (Sources from https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/covid-19/data).

      So, well, it's not simple, is it? If you wanted not to die in 2020 living in the UK was definitely a bad idea, while if you want to get vaccinated in 2021 perhaps it is a good idea.

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

      Leavers seem to be under the impression that Remainers voted remain because the latter wanted to stay as part of some monstrously wasteful and indecisive collective hugging group. F*ck off.

      It was all about trade. It *should* have been all about trade (and the related bits and bobs) - i.e. sovereign nations that bargain and agree together for the collective good to make everyone better, richer and safer. Y'know, all this 'trade agreement' stuff we're actively now doing with anyone-as-long-as-its-not-the-EU. That's all Britain's relationship with Europe was and is ever really about (maybe aside from avoiding mutual extermination; ref: WWII, USSR, SFRY, etc). With few exceptions, none of us want all that federal European crap or to be superglued to inflexible long-term decisions, just proper mutually-agreed common bloody sense. The vast majority of Brits were/are against crazy levels of bureaucratic federalism, both leavers and remainers; of that we can probably agree. 'Free movement' became a banner instead of being developed into a sensible possibility and lifestyle. Instead of working to convince our biggest trade partner(s) not to be bureaucratic, indecisive a*seholes we threw a strop and walked away, wiping out everything we'd achieved and becoming an even bigger a*se in the process. Yes, eventually it'll all come out in the wash and the world will be a great place again. Yes, we'll still trade with the EU and, eventually, the terms and landscape will be good and as it should be (huzzah!). But ffs it could have been a lot freckin' easier to get there if both sides had agreed to live by life rule #1: "don't be a dick".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

        Actually - Bojo as Emperor Peter - perfect casting. Just a pity we haven't got a decent Catherine at the moment.

      2. IWVC

        Re: And the EU still can't understand why the UK left.

        If you can recall far enough back, the whole BREXIT thing started with David Cameron saying he could get the EU to change and not be, for example, "bureaucratic, indecisive a*seholes" but was firmly (and not unexpectedly) told where to get off. He thought that the threat of UK withdrawal would be enough to swing the argument in his favour and was extremely naive to think that it would. The EU on its part never believed that a referendum in the UK would vote for out which showed how remote from public opinion the leaders were - not just in the UK as other political dissatisfaction was building elsewhere - and refused to change. (It became apparent that David Cameron didn't expect a leave result either but having set the ball rolling promptly buggered off and washed his hands of the result).

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sanofi

    Can't help wondering how much this is due to the Sanofi (Pasteur) vaccine falling over. Brits got a vaccine out, Germans got a vaccine out, but the French are behind, that must rankle. And these production problems are supposedly at a Belgian plant, embarrassing for a country whose death rates look worse than the UK's.

    I'm just waiting for Farage to point out that the vaccine is an animal product (from human cells no less!) so the EU will be obliged to make it wait 3 weeks on the dock while the paperwork is checked...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sanofi

      Not really sure you can compare death rates as the UK and Belgium don't measure them in the same way.

      The "Brits" got a vaccine out using supplies from Belgium in conjunction with a Swedish pharma firm and using, to some extent, EU funds. The "German" one is in conjunction with an American firm and is produced in Belgium... and so on... Attributing it to one nation seems a bit facile...

      The reality is that different countries/trading blocks took different bets on which vaccine would work out best (for some definition of best), that betting also included timing as well as choosing the horse. It looks like Israel did well out of it and the UK has so far done fairly well... the EU not quite so well but at least some of that is down to luck really. If the AstraZeneca vaccine hadn't worked out quite so well then the UK would probably be trailing behind other countries and everyone would be moaning about BoJo having screwed up again!

      1. Cederic Silver badge

        Re: Sanofi

        If the AstraZeneca vaccine hadn't worked out quite so well then the UK would probably be trailing behind other countries

        That would be the same UK that rolled out the pfizer vaccine before any other country? The one that's ahead of every country in the EU? The one that's got pre-orders in for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines?

        Ok.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sanofi

          And the childish argument goes on..... The UK did start using the Pfize/Biotech vaccine before other EU countries, some say because the other EU countries were more conservative in their reviewing process, some for other reasons but I didn't see any sign that the UK would be so advanced if it weren't for the AstraZeneca vaccine.

          The EU approved the Moderna vaccine before the UK... but again I don't think it made much difference.

          The bottom line is that we're confronted by a nasty virus and the sooner we're ALL vaccinated, regardless of nationality, the better for all of us.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Sanofi

            "The UK did start using the Pfize/Biotech vaccine before other EU countries, some say because the other EU countries were more conservative in their reviewing process, some for other reasons but I didn't see any sign that the UK would be so advanced if it weren't for the AstraZeneca vaccine."

            The UK got early access to the Pfizer vaccine because it signed contracts early and allowed Pfizer to invest in production. It also brought more doses than required because the UK governmetn new they were gambling on a "winner".

            The EU signed their contracts after the UK and paid significantly less per dose than their UK counterparts.

            Presenting these options as examples of benefits/consequences of Brexit is a little naive - both strategies were available and many richer EU countries have a similar strategy to the UK. The arguments are around "fairness" from the less well off EU countries that are solely relying on the EU share of vaccines.

            My perspective is that rich companies fund the facilities to produce the vaccine and get a small benefit for doing so (i.e. the UK ends up with a similar level of "normal" as say NZ/Australia/Iceland) - longer term, all countries reap the rewards as the vaccine is sold at near cost to those that didn't invest/take risks.

            As global travel will likely depend on all countries being immunised, that seems like a sensible approach.

        2. hoola Silver badge

          Re: Sanofi

          BoJo and his Government have been far from perfect throughout this fiasco with some clearly idiotic delays and decisions however, to give them credit where it is due, they have been remarkably successful in getting vaccines procured and rolled out.

          This may just be chance or is it that Cummings is now sufficiently far enough out of the picture that some slightly more switched on politicians or advisers are telling BoJo what to do?

          I certainly don't believe that BoJo has had some sort of epiphany and has suddenly become competent.

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: Sanofi

            The UK started building a vaccine production plant in about February last year. And we didn't do it in the same was as the EU, by advanced ordering. But by having an industrial strategy, which is one of the things Cummings was calling for. Whether he had anything to do with it is another matter of course, but the early decisions to set up Kate Bingham with a big budget and a good deal of independence to buy a portfolio of vaccines and to help build vaccine production capability in this country were taken between February and March last year.

            However if you're going to rightly criticise the government for all the things it got wrong, you also need to acknowledge this area, where they got it spectactularly right. For both us and the rest of the world, because we've had a joined-up strategy of boosting vaccine research and production capacity both in our own, and the global, economy.

            1. Dazed and Confused

              Re: Sanofi

              > The UK started building a vaccine production plant in about February last year.

              The normal thing to do was to go to the US drugs industry and say make a trillion of these. But they thought Trump might pull a loony on this and ban the export of the vaccines so ended up doing a deal with AZ to make it in the UK. They never thought that the EU would decide to put an export ban on such things.

              It also helped that Oxford Uni could afford to stomp up the initial cash to get the research going before going to the government. I suspect that deep in the bowls of the civil service there was a plan about what to do in the case of needing a vaccine in a hurry and they were able to dust off some old plans to help kick things into life.

      2. MOV r0,r0

        Re: Sanofi

        That would be the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine developed and trialled by Oxford University with UK government support with AZ being brought in only later to produce it at scale - and not-for-profit at Oxford's insistence. UK vaccine funding per head is seven times higher than the EU's (and where do you think the EU gets its money from anyway, if not member states?).

        The reality is AZ chose to produce with partners located in the territory the vaccine was intended for specifically to avoid territorial spats like this and that vaccines produced in a certain territory are exclusive to that territory until a certain production number has been reached and only beyond which they can be exported. The EU Commission have twisted that last part with their agreement with AZ that UK soil could be treated as EU for the purposes of new EU production (sensible: it was invented here) and conflated it into a claim on existing UK production which is simply not in the contract.

        Vaccine production is a biochemical process whose yield takes time to establish. The embarrassing truth is that the UK were around one month ahead of some EU member states in establishing AZ vaccine production, perhaps because it was developed here, up until the Commission got involved and insisted it negotiate on behalf of all of the bloc which added an additional two months, hence the three months late accusation. This is an existential embarrassment to the Commission as it suggest that when they get involved it adds little except delay and that member states are often better off acting independently as the UK has done and could only do because of? Brexit…

        The Commission's response is pure face-saving and we've all had enough of that after Wuhan, Hubei and the CCP and additionally it's a distraction for AZ's CEO who has a more important task of running a corporation producing an effective, not-for-profit vaccine suitable for both developed and developing countries.

        Here's some quotes from him in a Repubblica interview:

        "In the EU agreement it is mentioned that the manufacturing sites in the UK were an option for Europe, but only later"

        "As soon as we have reached a sufficient number of vaccinations in the UK, we will be able to use that site to help Europe as well. But the contract with the UK was signed first and the UK, of course, said 'you supply us first'"

        Source: Pascal Soriot La Repubblica interview

      3. Blazde Silver badge

        Re: Sanofi

        "It looks like Israel did well out of it"

        Potentially early to say that. We don't yet know details of what personal data was surrendered to get it so fast. A PM on trial over various corruption charges, unstable government likely to and now going to face elections, alongside a pandemic, might have caused a wee bit of panic and self-interest at the Pfizer negotiating table.

        1. Cederic Silver badge

          Re: Sanofi

          Didn't Israel agree to act as a large scale pan-population trial of the Pfizer vaccine?

          That does suggest a lot of data will be transferred but not necessarily PII and not necessarily without controls. Interesting that you've got some doubts, not seen those concerns raised elsewhere.

          Although getting balanced reporting regarding Israel is difficult at the best of times.

          1. Blazde Silver badge

            Re: Sanofi

            The more detailed the data is the more chance it's unintentionally de-anonymiseable (if we take at face value that it's intended to be kosher in the first place), and it must be fairly detailed and complete to be of meaningful value as far as the contract is concerned, since most countries will be collecting some kind of post-vaccination data.

            I do wonder also at some point whether even data which isn't personally identifiable but is a comprehensive snapshot of a complete society might not be something they really want to create and share. Imagine you have anonymised data on all person-to-person 'contacts' for a 12 month period, with individuals, households and workplaces given unique but anonymous identifiers, and some health data overlaid on that. That's potentially a treasure trove for medical research, but could also have unexpected uses in the hands of bad guys.

            Israel's a security conscious nation so you'd think they'd be careful what they give away. But then they already have their domestic intelligence service producing contract tracing data using cellphone usage (etc) so when Pfizer says 'Hi we'd like that data and you can be vaccinated months ahead of other countries, even before the election' what does Netanyahu say? Maybe he says yes, maybe he says yes but only Palestinian's data, maybe he says no. I wouldn't like to bet either way.

            1. sed gawk Silver badge

              Re: Sanofi

              Israel is not vaccinating the people in occupied Palestine.

              So it's unlikely to trade the data of the people under occupation, as it's unhelpful for the trial.

              Marr: I understand that, but the Palestinians have asked you for vaccines and you haven’t given them some, and under the Geneva Convention, the 4th Geneval Convention, Israel is required to do so. I can read it back. Article 56 says that Israel ‘must adopt and supply the prophylactic and preventative measures necessary to combat the spread of contagious diseases and epidemics in cooperation with local authorities.’ Now, that means the vaccine. Why aren’t you giving them the vaccine?

              Edelstein: I would say that first of all we can also look into the so-called Oslo Agreements where it says loud and clear that Palestinians have to take care of their own health.

              Marr: Again, I’m sorry to interrupt but the United Nations says that international law should supersede the Oslo Agreements on this.

              Edelstein: If it is the responsibility of the Israeli Health Minister to take care of the Palestinians what exactly is the responsibility of the Palestinian Health Minister? To take care of the dolphins in the Mediterranean?

              https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000rqd5

              1. Mage Silver badge
                Facepalm

                Re: Palestinians have asked you for vaccines

                No, they didn't. Palestinians are split between PLO run PA on the West Bank and Hamas run Gaza. Both have their own programs and did accept training but also refused direct help.

                Also under 1985 Oslo Accord they run their own health service.

                Every year the UN passes anti-Israel resolutions that are rather biased. There are a lot of Arab and Moslem countries in the GA.

                1. sed gawk Silver badge

                  Re: Palestinians have asked you for vaccines

                  I think that a population under blockade cannot effectively run it's own heath service.

                  It's a matter of record that the people of gaza live in desperate conditions, with leading Israeli human rights organisations[1], advocating for allowing all people equal access to healthcare, education, within occupied Palestine. Israel is the effective power on the ground and as such is obligated to help.

                  The Objections to the behaviour are well founded, for example, see the testimony of former unit 8200 members

                  [2] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/12/israeli-intelligence-reservists-refuse-serve-palestinian-territories

                  “In intelligence – in Israel intelligence regarding Palestinians – they don’t really have rights,” said Nadav, 26, a sergeant, who is now a philosophy and literature student in Tel Aviv. “Nobody asks that question. It’s not [like] Israeli citizens, where if you want to gather information about them you need to go to court.”

                  He said: “The intelligence gathering about Palestinians is not clean. When you rule a population that does not have political rights, laws like we have, [then] the nature of this regime of ruling over people, especially when you do it for many years, [is that] it forces you to take control or infiltrate every aspect of their life.”

                  “D”, a 29-year-old captain who served for eight years, added: “[That] question is one of the messages that we feel it is very important to get across mostly to the Israeli public.

                  “That is a very common misconception about intelligence … when we were enlisting in the military [we thought] our job is going to be minimising violence, minimising loss of lives, and that made the moral side of it feel much easier.”

                  He added: “What the IDF does in the occupied territories is rule another people. One of the things you need to do is defend yourself from them, but you also need to oppress the population.

                  “You need to weaken the politics. You need to strengthen and deepen your control of Palestinian society so that the [Israeli] state can remain [there] in the long term. We can’t talk about specifics … [but] intelligence is used to apply pressure to people to make them cooperate with Israel.

                  “It’s important to say, the reason I decided to refuse – and I decided to refuse long before the recent [Gaza] operation. It was when I realised that what I was doing was the same job that the intelligence services of every undemocratic regime are doing.

                  “This realisation was what made me [realise] personally that I’m part of this large mechanism that is trying to defend or perpetuate its presence in the occupied territories.”

                  [1] https://www.btselem.org/

                  B’Tselem has garnered the high regard of human rights organizations in Israel and around the world. It has been the recipient of various awards, including the Carter-Menil Award for Human Rights (1989, jointly with Al-Haq); the Danish PL Foundation Human Rights Award (2011, jointly with Al-Haq); the Stockholm Human Rights Award (2014) and the Human Rights Award of the French Republic (2018, jointly with Al-Haq). B’Tselem’s video project also received various awards, including the British One World Media Award (2009) and the Israeli Documentary Filmmakers Forum Award (2012).

                  Every year the UN passes anti-Israel resolutions that are rather biased. There are a lot of Arab and Moslem countries in the GA.

                  Would you care to state the racist dog whistle a little more plainly, perhaps, you'd like to address the possibility that a seventy year occupation might involve brutality and violence that exceeds the acceptable boundaries of a putative law based organization.

                  Every now and then, some brave soul tries to get Israel to shed the trauma of it's founding, and become a liberal democracy where all the citizens of all it's territories are equal in law, and not subject to having their homes demolished https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-54823660

                  Destroying someone's home, is really dark.

                  That's why the UN resolutions are made, it's an outrage that you can see all of this, and find only racism as an explanation for why someone might want this attack on humanity to stop.

                  We all need shelter, what if this was your family? Do you really not think someone should object, and if not, why do you not?

                  1. James12345
                    FAIL

                    Re: Palestinians have asked you for vaccines

                    B’Tselem is not a leading human rights organisation, it is a bunch of nutters.

                    Both Oslo and Geneva are clear about who is responsible, and Israel is going beyond its responsibilities regarding vaccines.

                    "tries to get Israel to shed the trauma of it's founding, and become a liberal democracy where all the citizens of all it's territories are equal in law" - All Israeli citizens are equal in law, including the 20% non-Jewish citizens.

                    Like Jeza, you just can't see your particular blind spot.

                    1. sed gawk Silver badge

                      Re: Palestinians have asked you for vaccines

                      B’Tselem is not a leading human rights organisation, it is a bunch of nutters.

                      Says you, provide some evidence please.

                      https://www.timesofisrael.com/education-minister-bans-major-human-rights-groups-from-entering-schools/

                      The Israeli press seem to think the Israeli human rights organisation is a human rights organisation.

                      "tries to get Israel to shed the trauma of it's founding, and become a liberal democracy where all the citizens of all it's territories are equal in law" - All Israeli citizens are equal in law, including the 20% non-Jewish citizens.

                      Evidence, The Israeli press seems to disagree with you again.

                      See "Opinion | Nation-state Law Essentially Establishes Apartheid Regime "

                      https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-a-cat-guarding-the-cream-of-self-determination-1.9390971

                      Both Oslo and Geneva are clear about who is responsible, and Israel is going beyond its responsibilities regarding vaccines.

                      Israel is the occupying power, and as such is obligated to assist.

                      It's behaviour will eventually be driven by the needs of circulating migrant labour from occupied Palestine. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-12-30/short-of-workers-israel-builders-seek-to-vaccinate-palestinians

                      Like Jeza, you just can't see your particular blind spot.

                      Sure mate, "Like Jezza". Are you triggered by facts, sorry/not sorry.

                      I don't have a blind spot, I don't like bullies, and the testimony of people living there, serving as part of the occupation is harrowing.

                      If you lack the humanity to understand that I don't care which sky fairy you bow your head to, I can't help you. People are people, and if you cannot see that, you have the blind spot.

                      Hint I'm willing to bet out of the pair of us, I'm the only Semite.

                      1. James12345

                        Re: Palestinians have asked you for vaccines

                        sed gawk, given you claim to be a Semite expert, what are your views on the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism?

                        1. sed gawk Silver badge

                          Re: Palestinians have asked you for vaccines

                          given you claim to be a Semite expert,

                          Can you provide some evidence for this or any of your other assertions please?

                          what are your views on the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism?

                          I don't have a special objection to using the IHRA definitions, I've expressed that view previously.

                          I don't see why racism is grouped according to the opinions of racists. Anti Jewish racism, anti eastern European racism, anti Muslim racism, anti Black racism, colourism, casteism, anti-Caucasian racism - It's all racism and bullshit in my eyes.

                          I said this here https://forums.theregister.com/forum/all/2020/05/21/paul_golding_britain_first_phone_pin_police_conviction/ [edited slightly to remove typo in original]

                          Personally, I'm perfectly happy with "all forms of racism are unacceptable". ... I think the wording is sloppy, but I don't see it as more than virtue signalling to have accepted it. Conversely, it doesn't hurt to adopt it.

                          1. James12345
                            Paris Hilton

                            Re: Palestinians have asked you for vaccines

                            All forms of racism are unacceptable. There are a lot of people who consider themselves antiracist but at the same time don't have a problem with singling Jews out for special treatment. Call it "virtue signalling" if you want.

                            While you consider the IHRA definition is sloppy, it is needed as it is helpful to remind people how antisemitism works, especially when the people being antisemitic don't feel they are being antisemitic.

                            You might like to look at the working examples given by the IHRA to help illustrate antisemitism at work.

                            This article and the associated public comments, are about a technology blunder committed by the European Commission while dealing with a commercial spat between the Commission and AstraZeneca. The spat appears to be in part fuelled by the Commission's disdain for post-Brexit Britain.

                            Following one commentator's brief mention of the large data set being gathered by Israel about the vaccination programme it is running, another commentator has launched in accusations of crimes against humanity by Israel, for which there is no evidence.

                            Perhaps that second commentator is trying to draw a parallel between the contents of the Commissions contract with AZ not appearing to back up the Commissions claims and the misreported claims that Israel is committing crimes against humanity in Gaza and Judea and Samaria?

                            Or perhaps that second commentator feels that all the wrongdoing Israel is accused of can be explained by wilful manipulation of facts and data or outright lying, either by themselves or by quoting sources that use the same tactics.

                            Who knows. But I'm sure that second commentator abhors all forms of racism, has lots of Jewish friends and lots of people call him/her the least antisemitic person they know.

                            Paris - because she didn't understand antisemitism either.

                            1. sed gawk Silver badge

                              Re: Palestinians have asked you for vaccines

                              All forms of racism are unacceptable. There are a lot of people who consider themselves antiracist but at the same time don't have a problem with singling Jews out for special treatment. Call it "virtue signalling" if you want.
                              And you are raising this because? Also "virtue signalling", can you unpack that phrase please? Racists are racist to me so I'm an anti-racist from naked self interest.
                              While you consider the IHRA definition is sloppy, it is needed ..as... people.. don't feel they are being antisemitic.
                              Thank you for "goysplaining"[1] the IHRA and the motivation behind defining the term. [1] https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=goysplain

                              What is wrong with the word racist? Why delineate bigotry by abusive knuckle draggers's motivation? I don't respect racists, why should I concern myself with their opinions. When Jackie Walker is abused for being Black, abused for being Jewish. Is not the anti-Jewish racism the same as anti-Black racism?

                              “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities
                              I would have used "Anti Jewish Racism" three words instead of 38, so, yes I think it's sloppy. However it's not the definition given by the IHRA that you mean.
                              You might like to look at the working examples given by the IHRA to help illustrate antisemitism at work.
                              oh here we are, so we subtly gone from the thirty-eight word mangling of "Anti Jewish Racism" which is the actual IHRA working definition, to expanding into the examples now... I think I've seen this movie. Does it end with you telling me "my ancestors would be ashamed of me", or that I'm the wrong sort, or a self hater?

                              Following one commentator's brief mention of the large data set being gathered by Israel about the vaccination programme it is running, another commentator has launched in accusations of crimes against humanity by Israel, for which there is no evidence.

                              Actually someone said that Israel would only provide Palestinians data for the vaccine trial.

                              Israel's a security conscious nation ...so when Pfizer says 'Hi we'd like that data and you can be vaccinated months ahead of other countries,...maybe he says yes but only Palestinian's data

                              I pointed out that Israel are unlikely to provide the Palestinians's data

                              Israel is not vaccinating the people in occupied Palestine. So it's unlikely to trade the data of the people under occupation, as it's unhelpful for the trial.
                              I followed that up with evidence and a link to the source. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000rqd5

                              That was responded to by a racist anti-Muslim dog whistle, which you completely didn't call out (how anti-racist of you),

                              Every year the UN passes anti-Israel resolutions that are rather biased. There are a lot of Arab and Moslem countries in the GA.
                              So that's a "a certain perception of Muslims, which may be expressed as hatred toward Muslims." - where have I heard that phrasing. See if I replace Muslim with people, then that works for everybody
                              "a certain perception of People which may be expressed as hatred towards People"
                              We have an existing word for this concept, it's called Racism https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism

                              another commentator has launched in accusations of crimes against humanity by Israel, for which there is no evidence.
                              Actually I explicitly called out the Racist dog whistle by links to reported events which might provide a reason for the UN to reproach the country, explicitly refuting the racist dog whistle, which you yourself seems "totes relaxed" about. Guess you aren't really that bothered about racism then..
                              https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-54823660

                              Destroying someone's home, is really dark.

                              That's why the UN resolutions are made, it's an outrage that you can see all of this, and find only racism as an explanation for why someone might want this attack on humanity to stop.

                              I also linked to evidence, Including the testimony of former unit 8200 members, linked to source https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/12/israeli-intelligence-reservists-refuse-serve-palestinian-territories

                              See evidence, that supports assertions, why don't you try it, as soon as your other sockpuppet dries out.

                              Perhaps that second commentator is trying to draw a parallel between the contents of the Commissions contract with AZ not appearing to back up the Commissions claims
                              Perhaps you should find a single mention of the contract, swing and a miss mate, try harder.

                              So far, you've made numerous accusation, and not cited a single piece of evidence, no links, no quotes, just smears. This is a particularly fine example, since you've woven it from whole astroturf.

                              and the misreported claims that Israel is committing crimes against humanity in Gaza and Judea and Samaria?
                              Nice dog whistle there. Occupied Palestine, Gaza and the West Bank. https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2020/country-chapters/israel/palestine https://apnews.com/article/religion-race-and-ethnicity-israel-mediterranean-sea-west-bank-3c9adae04858a7735b031e58e3419c64

                              Take it up with them mate, I'm happy to look in the mirror, funny enough I don't seem to suffer the lack of your permission to be the "right sort of Semite" conditional on my support for a right wing government. https://www.btselem.org/

                              Or perhaps that second commentator feels that all the wrongdoing Israel is accused of can be explained by wilful manipulation of facts and data or outright lying, either by themselves or by quoting sources that use the same tactics.
                              So quoting an on the record interview by the Israeli minister for health is "fake news". Or the human rights organisations in the country they are the wrong sort of Semites too aren't they? And that hotbed of anti-semites over at https://www.timesofisrael.com/education-minister-bans-major-human-rights-groups-from-entering-schools/ or https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-a-cat-guarding-the-cream-of-self-determination-1.9390971

                              Seems like you are punting an anti-jewish conspiracy theory, where the people living in Israel, writing for Israeli media, working for Israeli human rights organisations, serving in the IDF. They are all "anti-Semitic" and engaged in "wilful manipulation of facts", or maybe they are sincere in their views. https://www.btselem.org/ seems like there is a lot of evidence if you care to look.

                              Who knows. But I'm sure that second commentator abhors all forms of racism, has lots of Jewish friends and lots of people call him/her the least antisemitic person they know.
                              Nice, I think you might have left this strawman here. By the way why did you feel the need to bring up a british political figure in a dispute over vaccine distribution by one country occupying another country? Do you forget which sockpuppet you're using this time, and throw it in for SEO purposes, asking for a friend? https://www.btselem.org/

                              1. James12345

                                Re: Palestinians have asked you for vaccines

                                "Perhaps you should find a single mention of the contract"

                                Given the story you are commenting on is a story about "the contract", it is fairly revealing that you point out you are not commenting about "the contract".

                                This is a comment thread for a story about the European Commission, its contract with AstraZeneca and a technology snafu.

                                You want to turn this in to a Jew hate fest - don't be surprised when someone calls out your antisemitism.

                                1. sed gawk Silver badge

                                  Re: Palestinians have asked you for vaccines

                                  evidence, that supports assertions, why don't you try it, as soon as your other sockpuppet dries out.

                                  Perhaps that second commentator is trying to draw a parallel between the contents of the Commissions contract with AZ not appearing to back up the Commissions claims

                                  Perhaps you should find a single mention of the contract, swing and a miss mate, try harder.

                                  So far, you've made numerous accusation, and not cited a single piece of evidence, no links, no quotes, just smears. This is a particularly fine example, since you've woven it from whole astroturf.

                                  Given the story you are commenting on is a story about "the contract", it is fairly revealing that you point out you are not commenting about "the contract".

                                  "fairly revealing" that you made up yet another unsupported accusation". You made up some nonsense, we're called on it, and find it "revealing ", try again explaining how I'm a self hater.

                                  It's telling, you've offered no links, no quotes, no evidence whatsoever, just lies, and blind eyes to flagrant racism - care to common on that ?

                                  This is a comment thread for a story about the European Commission, its contract with AstraZeneca and a technology snafu.

                                  Thank you for "goysplaining" comment threads[1] https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=goysplain

                                  You want to turn this in to a Jew hate fest - don't be surprised when someone calls out your antisemitism.

                                  Thank you for "goysplaining" antisemitism [1] https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=goysplain

                                  Got an example, or any evidence? for this or any of your smears.

                                  I'm happy to look in the mirror, funny enough I don't seem to suffer the lack of your permission to be the "right sort of Semite" conditional on my support for a right wing government. https://www.btselem.org/

                                  1. James12345
                                    WTF?

                                    Re: Palestinians have asked you for vaccines

                                    You seem to like looking in the mirror a lot.

                                    1. sed gawk Silver badge

                                      You seem to like looking in the mirror a lot.

                                      Don't hate me because I'm beautiful, I'm just drawn that way.

                                      1. James12345

                                        "Seem that in your conflation of Jewish people with Israeli citizen, you are being antisemitic"

                                        It was already clear you don't understand/wilfully ignore the IHRA definition, but thanks for explicitly demonstrating it.

                                        1. sed gawk Silver badge

                                          Re: Can you provide some evidence for this or any of your other assertions please?

                                          It was already clear you don't understand/wilfully ignore the IHRA definition, but thanks for explicitly demonstrating it.

                                          "Anti Jewish Racism" seems like I understand it pretty well, but thank you for "goysplaining"[1] the IHRA and the motivation behind defining the term. [1] https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=goysplain

                                          It's telling you're attempting to troll random Semites on the internet, while throwing around accusations of antisemitism, and completely failing to challenge racist comments. Seems pretty clear that you're not sincere in your behaviour. You don't care about Semitic people, We only matter to you in that you can use us for your right wing trolling.

                                          Why again did the mention of Israel cause you to reference a British Politician?

                                          Is it for SEO purposes ?

                                          1. James12345
                                            WTF?

                                            Re: Can you provide some evidence for this or any of your other assertions please?

                                            I'm at a loss to work out your obsession with SEO? Up to this point, you are the one that has mentioned Jeza/Jezza the most. Perhaps you are doing it for SEO purposes.

                                            I'll leave you to workout how far through the results these comments show up when you Google jeremy corbyn antisemitism. I very much doubt that people will be bothered to wade that far through the jeremy corbyn antisemitism results to see a comment on a story about a pdf screw up in a Covid vaccine argument. (Yes, I know other search systems exist.)

                                            Jeza was used as an example of someone who has a high profile and while claiming to be an antiracist, his actions are antisemitic. Despite his and his supporters repeated claims that he is against all forms of racism, has many Jewish friends, doesn't have an antisemitic bone in his body, etc, etc, it is amazing how he seems unable to stop blaming Jews and Israelis for the worlds evils.

                                            I'm sure this sounds familiar to you. Perhaps you'll call me a goy again. You might even mention that you've been looking in the mirror, yet again. Perhaps you'll repeatedly mention B'Tselem, whose baseless apartheid smears against Israel demonstrate that they are a bunch of nutters and not a human rights organisation. Finally, this is where I throw in some numbers in square parentheses - [20] [23] [1] [20] - and a link or two - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisemitism_in_the_Arab_world - https://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/761C1063530766A7052566A2005B74D1

                                            FWIW: When I Google antisemitism as the only search term instead of jeremy corbyn antisemitism, the Labour Party make it on to Page 1, but Jeza doesn't get his own mention until Page 5. YMMV of course.

                                            1. sed gawk Silver badge
                                              Thumb Down

                                              Re: Can you provide some evidence for this or any of your other assertions please?

                                              So, no response to your debunked smeaks.

                                              No evidence of your accusation.

                                              No apologies for your lies.

                                              Repeated attempted to link British Political figures with a smear based on your lies.

                                              More lies, about use of the person's name, which you keep trying to draw out despite discussing a country three thousand miles away.

                                              Perhaps you might like to read this book, and see what the author has to say about the figure you are smearing. https://www.waterstones.com/book/jews-dont-count/david-baddiel/9780008399474

                                              Is he the wrong sort of Semite too? asking for a friend.

                                              You are not sincere in your behaviour, it's abhorrent how you attempt to weaponize our suffering for your gratification as a right wing troll.

                                              So feel, free to carry on. It's clear for all to see just what you are.

                                              Seem that in your conflation of Jewish people with Israeli citizen, you are being antisemitic, according to the <strikethrough>words handed down from on high</strikethrough> The non-binding examples that you attempted to slide in place of the IHRA thirty eight word mangling of "Anti Jewish Racism".

                                              Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

                                              https://www.holocaustremembrance.com/resources/working-definitions-charters/working-definition-antisemitism

                                              But given your failure to call out racism, and your history of making unsubstantiated allegations, and folding when asked for evidence.

                                              Also

                                              Seems like you are punting an anti-jewish conspiracy theory, where the people living in Israel, writing for Israeli media, working for Israeli human rights organisations, serving in the IDF. They are all "anti-Semitic" and engaged in "wilful manipulation of facts", or maybe they are sincere in their views. https://www.btselem.org/ seems like there is a lot of evidence if you care to look.

                                              Care to evidence your allegation, or respond to the numerous times, your lies have been debunked.

                                            2. sed gawk Silver badge
                                              Thumb Down

                                              Re: Can you provide some evidence for this or any of your other assertions please?

                                              Seems like you are punting an anti-jewish conspiracy theory, where the people living in Israel, writing for Israeli media, working for Israeli human rights organisations, serving in the IDF. They are all "anti-Semitic" and engaged in "wilful manipulation of facts", or maybe they are sincere in their views. https://www.btselem.org/ seems like there is a lot of evidence if you care to look.

                                              Care to evidence your allegation, or respond to the numerous times, your lies have been debunked.

                                              Finally, this is where I throw in some numbers in square parentheses - [20] [23] [1] [20] - and a link or two - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisemitism_in_the_Arab_world - https://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/761C1063530766A7052566A2005B74D1

                                              Nice, But given your failure to call out racism, and your history of making unsubstantiated allegations, and refusing to provide evidence to back up your lies.

                                              This is a comment thread for a story about the European Commission, its contract with AstraZeneca and a technology snafu.

                                              Thank you for "goysplaining" comment threads[1] https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=goysplain

                                              Oh, we're no longer discussing contracts?

                                              Given the story you are commenting on is a story about "the contract", it is fairly revealing that you point out you are not commenting about "the contract".

                                              Perhaps you might like to meet some actual Semites, given your comfort with naked racism, I can see why you might prefer not to do that.

                                              It's telling, you've offered no links, no quotes, no evidence whatsoever, just lies, and blind eyes to flagrant racism - care to comment on that ?

                                              1. James12345
                                                Pint

                                                Re: Can you provide some evidence for this or any of your other assertions please?

                                                Your responses suggest you are yet again looking in the mirror while you are typing your replies.

                                                While you are there, perhaps a bit of self-love as you watch yourself will soothe your soul. Give it a go and see if you feel better. You don't need to share any of the details, I'll be able to tell from your next reply if it worked or not.

                                                I mentioned Jeza just the once before you repeatedly brought him and SEO up, but somehow I'm the one who is obsessed! Back to you looking in the mirror and commenting about the things you see there.

                                                BTW, well done with the air filters/fan line - let me buy you a beer. GCHQ may be in touch with you soon. From one of your favourite reference sources, these are the actual air filters you are looking for https://www.urbandictionary.com/author.php?author=leahcim99 ;-*

                                                Anyway, salam to you, and as they say around here, Shabbat shalom.

                                                1. sed gawk Silver badge

                                                  Re: Can you provide some evidence for this or any of your other assertions please?

                                                  You put some random numbers with no context, and google through up a air filter.

                                                  I have no clue what you are getting at with random number tbqh.

                                                  “Shabbat shalom"

                                                  1. sed gawk Silver badge

                                                    Re: Can you provide some evidence for this or any of your other assertions please?

                                                    Perhaps you can address this as well.

                                                    https://twitter.com/i/status/1359286436579663882

                                            3. sed gawk Silver badge
                                              Trollface

                                              Re: Can you provide some evidence for this or any of your other assertions please?

                                              Finally, this is where I throw in some numbers in square parentheses - [20] [23] [1] [20]

                                              https://www.amazon.com/Eco-Aire-20x23x1-MERV-Pleated-Filter/ is the top result when you google your numbers.

                                              I'm hurt by your references to ventilation consumables, I may retreat to my safe space with my true fans.

                                              You constantly attempting to wide the frame of reference, to divert, smear and lie, and your obsession with a British MP, is telling.

                                              So seems like "Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation." Are Israelis' not allowed to have an opinion unless you can find an non-israeli to agree with them? To attempt to refute what an Israeli human rights organisation says about Israel, whilst living in Israel, printed in Israeli media..you are being antisemitic, according to the <strikethrough>words handed down from on high</strikethrough> The non-binding examples that you attempted to slide in place of the IHRA thirty eight word mangling of "Anti Jewish Racism".

                                2. sed gawk Silver badge

                                  Re: Can you provide some evidence for this or any of your other assertions please?

                                  You want to turn this in to a Jew hate fest - don't be surprised when someone calls out your antisemitism.

                                  Seem that in your conflation of Jewish people with Israeli citizen, you are being antisemitic, according to the <strikethrough>words handed down from on high</strikethrough> The non-binding examples that you attempted to slide in place of the IHRA thirty eight word mangling of "Anti Jewish Racism".

                                  Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

                                  https://www.holocaustremembrance.com/resources/working-definitions-charters/working-definition-antisemitism

                                  But given your failure to call out racism, and your history of making unsubstantiated allegations, and folding when asked for evidence.

                                  Also

                                  Seems like you are punting an anti-jewish conspiracy theory, where the people living in Israel, writing for Israeli media, working for Israeli human rights organisations, serving in the IDF. They are all "anti-Semitic" and engaged in "wilful manipulation of facts", or maybe they are sincere in their views. https://www.btselem.org/ seems like there is a lot of evidence if you care to look.

                                  Care to evidence your allegation, or respond to the numerous times, your lies have been debunked.

                                  [1] Hint I'm willing to bet out of the pair of us, I'm the only Semite.

                                  [2] By the way why did you feel the need to bring up a British political figure in a dispute over vaccine distribution by one country occupying another country?

                                  [3] Do you forget which sockpuppet you're using this time, and throw it in for SEO purposes, asking for a friend? https://www.btselem.org/

              2. Blazde Silver badge

                Re: Sanofi

                "Israel is not vaccinating the people in occupied Palestine."

                I was referring to the 1 in 5 Israeli citizens who are of Arab background, mostly self-identify as Palestinian and face a lot of second-class citizen type discrimination. Not those living in occupied territories. I should have been clearer, but it was a bit of a throwaway comment anyway.

                1. sed gawk Silver badge

                  Re: Sanofi

                  "I was referring to the 1 in 5 Israeli citizens who are of Arab background, mostly self-identify as Palestinian". The key phrase here is <bold>"Israeli citizens"</bold>.

                  Israel is a country, the people living there are Israeli. Please don't conflate ethnicity with citizenship. "mostly self-identify as Palestinian".

                  The people inside the borders that Israel admits, are treated differently to people inside the territoriality Israel controls.

                  Some people are protected by the law, some people aren't. It's deeply distasteful to suggest it's a matter of identity. "Israel is not vaccinating the people in occupied Palestine."

                  People who are living in say Tel Aviv, are vaccinated regardless of ethnicity.

                  People who are living in say Gaza and the West bank, are in occupied Palestine, and are not vaccinated.

                  It's a matter of the occupying power abrogating it's responsibilities to a group of people held in extrajudicial circumstances.

                  1. This post has been deleted by its author

      4. herman Silver badge

        Re: Sanofi

        When you are dead, you are dead. You cannot be a little bit dead, or a little bit pregnant. So unless one is an obstructionist/total bugs bunny maroon, one should be able to compare death rates.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sanofi

          And if you compare historical rates of influenza, you will notice very different methods of allocating "cause of death" between countries.

          The statistics for some countries will be accurate or as close to it as reasonably possible (i.e. the UK statsistics are often skewed by rates per day for processing issues.

          It will be interesting to see how population statistics and personnal stories released from China in the coming years reflect the statsistics they have already released.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Sanofi

      There may be politicians who feel that way, but the smart response is to recognise that everyone tried different approaches and (based on what we knew 12 months ago) it is completely random who got lucky and produced a working vaccine.

      I am grateful that the French tried whatever it was they did. That could easily have been the only one that worked.

      1. Danny 2 Silver badge

        Re: Sanofi

        The failure of the Pasteur Institute vaccine is a huge blow to the French psyche. My Parisian pal emailed me last night extrapolating it to the fall of the Roman empire. He's eh, well, he's a wee bit French.

        I didn't know how to respond to him, but I'm going to cut and paste your comment. Science is advanced by good experiments that fail as much as successes.

        1. Wellyboot Silver badge

          Re: Sanofi

          Indeed, when it eventually starts large scale trials in a few months I assume it will have been modified to work against the latest known covid variants so it may have better results when (not if) the next variant pops up in europe, either way the more vaccines we eventually have the better.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sanofi

      "Can't help wondering how much this is due to the Sanofi vaccine falling over."

      In the short term, very much so as it puts the EU down 300 m doses and slows the production ramp up.

      In terms of production in Belgium, it's more a case of increasing capacity than production problems. Yields are lower than initially expected across all vaccine producers but AZ took correct steps in late 2020.

      Production wise, the UK is relying on EU production facilities to reach capacity so playing silly games with imports/exports will likely win silly prizes.

      However, the EU does need to play nicely - they have around 15% of the 2020 vaccine allocation with only 3% of the world's population so trying to get greedy doesn't look good.

      The UK is likely to have more vaccine than it needs (assuming minimal difference effectiveness versus different strains) so there may have been an opportunity for the EU to make up for a slow start with higher volumes in Q3/Q4.

      Only now there will be much more scrutiny of where any excess doses may go to.

    4. Xalran

      Re: Sanofi

      Any new vaccine development is a big bet... like all the medecine... 9 out of 10 will not pass beyond the research stage and get dumped due to lack of efficiency, too many side effects, side effects too severe, too expensive to produce ( yes that can also lead to medecine being not produced, even when proved effective ).

      Which is why all the countries put their money on as many options as they could politically get away with. ( nobody in Europe and America put any money on the Chinese and Russian ones for example )

      The only differences compared to normal medecine development is that this vaccine is hightly mediatised, and all the regular red tapes that usually happen have been reduced to the strict minimum to get it mass produced by as many sources as possible as fast as possible.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sanofi

        One Australian vaccine candidate was scrapped recently. Unfortunately, even though it appeared to work at stopping COVID, it also produced false positive results for HIV.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stick a fork in the EU

    It's done!

  7. Jon 37 Silver badge

    Clearly states the first batch is manufactured in EU, not UK

    The contract clearly states that AstraZenica has to try to manufacture the 300m doses of vaccine for the EU, in the EU.

    Section 5.1 says "AstraZenica shall use it's Best Reasonable Efforts to manufacture the Initial Europe Doses within the EU for distribution, and to deliver to the Distribution Hubs....".

    Let me repeat that, it has to try it's best to "manufacture the Initial Europe Doses within the EU". And "the EU" specifically does not include the UK (see Section 5.4, which says "the EU [...] for the purpose of this Section 5.4 only shall include the United Kingdom" - which makes it clear that in *other* sections the EU does NOT include the United Kingdom). The "Initial Europe Doses" means the first 300 million doses, which are what they're currently trying to get. Note this doesn't apply to the 100 million doses that the EU can choose to buy after that - but it can't take delivery of the 100 million extra doses until after the first 300 million doses have been delivered.

    Now, it does also have to "use it's Best Reasonable Efforts to manufacture the Vaccine at manufacturing sites located within the EU (which, for the purpose of this Section 5.4 only shall include the United Kingdom)". However, nothing says it has to give doses manufactured in the UK to the EU. And 5.1 is fairly explicit about how the initial batch of 300 million doses should be manufactured in the EU. Presumably this section is talking about the following 100 million+ doses.

    1. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: Clearly states the first batch is manufactured in EU, not UK

      Ah, I see you've read it.

      I'm highly amused that the BBC refuses to mention or show section 5.1.

      Although they're also keeping quiet on whether Pfizer vaccine imports from Belgium will be halted now that the EU has required export licences on all vaccines, and put a hard border in place in Ireland in breach of the Good Friday Agreement.

      I seem to recall a certain Mr Biden being rather keen that nobody did that.

      1. 759b954e-617b-408b-a2b1-f5a42c3688d4
        FAIL

        Re: Clearly states the first batch is manufactured in EU, not UK

        'now that the EU has ... put a hard border in place in Ireland in breach of the Good Friday Agreement.'

        I think you'll find it was the UK who did that, in a fine example of aiming gun at foot and pulling trigger.

        1. Cederic Silver badge

          Re: Clearly states the first batch is manufactured in EU, not UK

          The UK position throughout Brexit was, always has been and continues to be that there should not be a hard border in Ireland.

          I'm intrigued that you feel otherwise.

          1. Wellyboot Silver badge

            Re: Clearly states the first batch is manufactured in EU, not UK

            I'm intrigued as well, A very large part of the negotiations during the last four years was all about fitting the Ireland/NI square peg into the UK/EU border round hole.

          2. strum

            Re: Clearly states the first batch is manufactured in EU, not UK

            What they said and what they did are two different things.

        2. analyzer

          Re: Clearly states the first batch is manufactured in EU, not UK

          The EU is 3 months behind the UK regarding AZ orders.

          Sanofi has not yet failed but have run into difficulties that could take a further month or 2 to overcome.

          The EU is helping AZ build production inside the EU borders.

          It was the EU that made the Irish border a hard one for purely bully tactic reasons and gave the facile excuse they are 'frightened' that there may be vaccine leak from NI to the rest of the UK. Despite the UK being far ahead of the EU in terms of vaccine distribution and the NI NHS being supplied from the UK mainland,

          There are good things about Europe but their response to this is certainly not one of them.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Clearly states the first batch is manufactured in EU, not UK

            "Sanofi has not yet failed but have run into difficulties that could take a further month or 2 to overcome."

            Are you sure? It was reported that they are likely to be 9+ months behind and are using there production facilities to manufacture the AZ vaccine with supplies becoming available in ~2 months.

            1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

              Re: Clearly states the first batch is manufactured in EU, not UK

              I think Sanofi had to redesign the vaccine slightly as it didn’t generate enough antibodies in older people. So was expected to go back into testing for production at the end of 2021. Hence it makes sense to no longer hold their factory for quick production.

              If it still worked well in younger people, it might have been better to produce anyway to give to key workers. But I’ve not read any great detail on how close it was to success.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Clearly states the first batch is manufactured in EU, not UK

      "manufacture the Initial Europe Doses within the EU"

      But the contract does also say the the UK is part of the EU for the purposes of the contract.

      I think we should sue them for libel (in London) :)

      What nobody seems to be mentioning is that originally we were told that Astra-Zeneca would have 30 M doses ready by the end of September. What happened to those? I'm sure that would give a big clue to the EU a long while ago that the timing of contracts was not going to be kept. I don't remember any 'time is of the essence' clauses in the contract anyway?

      1. AlanSh
        Happy

        Re: Clearly states the first batch is manufactured in EU, not UK

        "Reasonable endeavours" - that wonderful get out clause.

        SO the EU has "Reasonable endeavours". Meanwhile, the UK contract (which we haven't seen) probably says they will buy the first 100M doses off the production line (or something similar).

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Clearly states the first batch is manufactured in EU, not UK

          The UK one probably also says best endeavours. They’re probably quite similar, except the UK had already started to get a factory up and running in about February. So AZ took that over, and may at some point have to give it back.

          Ours says we get the first 100m doses, then it can go abroad. The EU one says they get the first 300m doses, then likewise, or they have an option for another 100m afterwards. AZ set production up as close to the markets as possible to stop this kind of problem from happening. They plan to make 2bn doses in 2021! With help from the UK and Indian governments a billion of those from the Serum Institute.

      2. Jon 37 Silver badge

        Re: Clearly states the first batch is manufactured in EU, not UK

        > But the contract does also say the the UK is part of the EU for the purposes of the contract.

        No, it doesn't. Section 5.4 says the UK is part of the EU for the purposes of section 5.4 ONLY. By using the word "only", that makes it clear that, in the rest of the contract, the UK is NOT part of the EU. And it's a different part (section 5.1) that says they must try to manufacture the Initial Dose in the EU.

        Quote from Section 5.4: "the EU [...] for the purpose of this Section 5.4 only shall include the United Kingdom".

        1. JassMan Silver badge

          Re: Clearly states the first batch is manufactured in EU, not UK

          All the aeguments here and on other nedia all seem to centre around section 5.x, however AZ are completely let off the hook by section 6.2 which says AZ only have to achieve best endeavours if they already have prior contracts they have to fulfil. I think we all know they are trying to fulfil a prior contract with UK. Maybe this is the real reason they have finally backed down.

          1. IWVC

            Re: Clearly states the first batch is manufactured in EU, not UK

            "however AZ are completely let off the hook by section 6.2 which says AZ only have to achieve best endeavours if they already have prior contracts they have to fulfil."

            I think you'll find that 6.2 only applies to new contracts with or on behalf of the Commission and does not cover existing contracts such as the UK's. I suspect the clause maybe inserted as AstraZenica are also developing other drugs such as long-acting antibody (AZD7442 or LAAB) combination therapy to provide protection against Covid-19 and production of this for a future contract with the EU may impinge on vaccine production facilities

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Clearly states the first batch is manufactured in EU, not UK

      It looks like enough contradiction between 5.1 & 5.4 to keep several lawyers' children fed.

      I can't quite see the point of closing the Irish border for exports from the Republic to NI given that the latter is likely to have the better supply and it sets a precedent for the UK to reciprocate in banning exports. The smart thing for BoJo to do would be to allow some exports as a matter of goodwill - and respond to the border ban by dismantling as much of the Irish sea border as possible as that is really the biggest danger to the UK as a whole in the entire Brexit shambles.

      On the whole it seems like classic managerial approach. Let's play the blame game instead of "What can we do to help get production going?". Ans no country or bloc has a monopoly on experts at that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Clearly states the first batch is manufactured in EU, not UK

        On the whole it seems like classic managerial approach. Let's play the blame game instead of "What can we do to help get production going?"

        That seems to be what Germany's Bild newspaper is saying.

        1. Dazed and Confused

          Re: Clearly states the first batch is manufactured in EU, not UK

          This makes an interesting read

          https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/jan/29/we-had-to-go-it-alone-how-the-uk-got-ahead-in-the-covid-vaccine-race

      2. Cederic Silver badge

        Re: Clearly states the first batch is manufactured in EU, not UK

        Boris appears to have done the, "Guys, did you really think this through? Perhaps you'd like to explain to us your thinking before we respond?" thing, and the EU have gone, "Oh. Bugger. Yeah, that wasn't us, ignore the press reports, don't know who started that whole story, nothing to see here."

        Might even be true - undoubtably some people in senior EU roles would like to create conflict so they may have jumped the gun before the wiser heads stepped in.

        1. Danny 2 Silver badge

          Re: Clearly states the first batch is manufactured in EU, not UK

          I think it was more when the Irish government complained that they hadn't been consulted and wouldn't have approved.

          The prime minister spoke with Taoiseach (prime minister) Micheal Martin on Friday night and stressed the need for the EU to clarify its intentions. An Irish government spokesman said Mr Martin was currently in discussions with European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen to express Dublin's concerns...

          Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald described the EU's use of Article 16 as a "grave error". "Our citizens need timely access to lifesaving vaccines not trade disputes," she tweeted. "Now is a time for cool heads and solidarity."

          https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-55864442

          1. IWVC

            Re: Clearly states the first batch is manufactured in EU, not UK

            An interesting example of how the power is actually divided up in the EU. The Commission are not the “civil service” and are in no way subservient to the Euro Parliament or Council of Ministers (the national governments). They are the only body that can initiate new or changes to legislation or take legislative action. So the Commission was within its remit to action Article 16 without any consultation or instructions from the publicly elected bodies. It seems that there must have been a strong reaction from national governments to make them reverse the decision (they could not be INSTRUCTED to reverse it). Probably more than just the Irish government. Other governments saw it as a bad mistake and the inevitable bad publicity the action would look like globally and applied the “when in a hole stop digging” rule.

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. TDog

        Re: Clearly states the first batch is manufactured in EU, not UK

        Section 5.4 specifically states that it only applies to section 5.4. Thus it cannot be applied to any other part of section 5 including section 5.1 which requires "best endeavours" to manufacture the vaccine in the EU. Thus UK production can not be included in section 5.1. The blatant claim by Ursula that this only applied during the development of the vaccine and not during it's production is a good example of a usually honest politician doing what so many politicians do best - lying (IMHO).

    5. willcor

      Re: Clearly states the first batch is manufactured in EU, not UK

      I initially read it the same as you, but I think 5.1 covers manufacturing the initial doses (filling and distribution of vials), reinforced by the reference to 7.1 (funding for same), while 5.4 covers the bulk vaccine itself. But then I'm a programmer, not a lawyer.

  8. JohnG

    Curevac

    Interestingly, the EC published their APA with Curevac, which includes the following:

    "The participating Member States acknowledge that, in light of the uncertainties both with respect to the development of the Product and the accelerated establishment of sufficient manufacturing capacities, the delivery dates set out in this APA are the contractor's current best estimates only and subject to change. Due to possible delays in the authorisation, production and release of the Product, no Product or only reduced volumes of the Product may be available at the estimated delivery dates set out in this APA. In the case of delays to the anticipated availability of the Product, the contractor aims to allocate the doses of the Product fairly across the demand of doses, which the contractor has or will contractually commit to towards its present and future customers, as such doses become available."

    As I understand it, Curevac is a long way from delivering any vaccine to the EU or the UK but the EC doesn't seem to be concerned about Curevac. It does seem strange that the EC is throwing their toys out of the pram over AZ, given that

    - The EU have not yet approved the vaccine;

    - The EC is not up to date with their advance payments to AZ;

    - The French president and some politicians in Germany are claiming that the AZ vaccine is ineffective for people over 60.

    As I understand it, AZ indicated that their EU deliveries would be affected due to problems at a Belgian plant run by a partner, Novasep - but the EC is not talking about those problems or how they might help to resolve them.

    It appears that Italy and Latvia are suing AZ, presumably on the basis that EU member states are parties to the APA.

    1. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: Curevac

      Earlier this evening the EMA (European Medicines Agency) did approve the Oxford/AZ vaccine for use in the EU, including for the over-65 population.

      The EU are aware of the challenges at the Belgian plant. They actually did a "spot check" yesterday because they thought AZ were lying:

      https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/astrazeneca-vaccine-news-plant-belgium-investigation-eu-b908340.html

      It's because they knew of those production issues that they're trying to claim that UK manufactured vaccines are contractually obliged to be sent to the EU. Sadly for them they then published a contract that conflicts with their own statements on the matter.

      Incidentally the EC is no longer around - the EU took over in '93, due to the Maastricht Treaty.

      I hadn't however heard that Italy and Latvia are suing AZ. That's an interesting development.

      1. tip pc Silver badge

        Re: Curevac

        The EC does exist, it has a president and everything

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/President_of_the_European_Commission

        It’s been in existence since 1958

        1. Danny 2 Silver badge

          Re: Curevac

          Governmental

          Environment and Climate Change Canada, a Canadian federal government department

          European Commission, the executive body of the European Union

          European Council, the European Union institution comprising the college of heads of state of government

          European Communities, one of the three pillars of the EU

          European Community, a significant component of the European Union from 1993 to 2009

          European Economic Community, informally, the European Community, an economic union from 1958 to 1993

        2. Cederic Silver badge

          Re: Curevac

          Oh, ok. Not seen the Commission abbreviated to EC before - probably because EC has always meant European Community (or Communities) here.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Curevac

            European Community = European Union = EU.

            the EU is a great thing, the Commission is an undemocratic sloth.

    2. CuChulainn

      Curevac is a long way from delivering any vaccine

      It's shares have been doing well, though (until today), which I am grateful for.

      I bought into AZ, Novavax, and Curevac. Only AZ seems to be plateauing - the other two are going good. Not sure why Curevac has fallen, though even Palladium has dropped. I see that the slide is the 'worst since October' in NYT.

    3. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

      Re: Curevac

      It appears that Italy ... suing AZ

      Why? Italy is "lobbying" the EU to allow Sinovac into EU (China's COVID-19 vaccine may be new candidate in EU).

      China has been giving Italy a lot of "freebies" since the start of the pandemic. China has provided a lot of medical support to Italy (logistics, PPE, manpower).

  9. james_o

    for the people involved, it will be quite a complicated blame game. probably hard to work out who's responsibility it was to check the redaction. everybody pointing at each other. brussels version of in the thick of it

  10. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
    Coat

    To what do I owe this pleasure?

    Not sure if this is "up anyone's alley" ... China Using Anal Swabs for COVID Testing

    1. Neil 44

      Re: To what do I owe this pleasure?

      I believe that, if you read the Oxford trial Patient Information Sheets (that are out there on their website), you'll see that "faecal samples" may also be requested for people on their trial testing positive too.

  11. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  12. IWVC

    The Commission don't have a leg to stand on

    The production of the vaccine is complex, such volumes have never been attempted before, throw in the uncertainties of commissioning new production facilities and it is clear that a contract could never say “x” numbers will be delivered in “y” weeks. Hence the use of “Best Reasonable efforts” when describing the output from AZ. 5.2 defines best reasonable effort as the way that a similarly sized and resourced [commercial] company would operate. It seems that the EU Commission officials were naive to expect large deliveries instantaneously after clearing the vaccine for use – as it turns out several months behind the UK.

    There are some strange references to the UK being part of the EU, very odd since we’ve clearly left and I suspect that the transition powers were not intended to cover NEW situations, only to clear up existing commitments. However, I can’t see anything that commits AZ to reneging on existing contracts to supply the EU. If it came to court it would be an argument about what was “reasonable” and the commercial context. I don’t think it can be considered reasonable if a supplier cuts deliveries in a running contract to one customer in order to satisfy a larger order. Would you be happy if your appointment to fix your failed gas boiler under a contract with, say for example, British Gas was cancelled at the last minute because they’d decided to switch all their technicians to a new contract with the block of 27 flats down the road?

    There may have been a degree of over-optimism (and maybe over selling) by the AZ sales team when negotiating with the EU but that does not entitle anyone to interfere with UK supplies.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: The Commission don't have a leg to stand on

      I think the EMA insist on factory info as part of licensing a medicine. Actually it’s common. But us and the US have given emergency approval, the EU went for the more bureaucratic temporary 1 year full license. Anyway this means they have to say where it’ll be produced and I’ve seen lawyers suggest that’s why our temporary promotion to EU members, for one clause only.

  13. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Wow that

    escalated quickly.

    From "lets get these vaccines out" to export bans, threats, and throwing various Irish treaties out of the window.

    Just goes to show that when you appoint someone into a position of power , that does not mean that they are any more qualified for the position than someone voted in by us mere plebs.

    And remember the head of the commision was appointed, she was "elected" to the position because the EU parliment got a list of condidates for the job that was 1 person long, and while she was the head of the German defence department, she proved rather useless at that job too.

    And if our government had 1 ounce of common sense , they should be saying "You can have 100% of our output of the vaccine after our population is jabbed(or we have enough doses in stock to jab everyone)"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wow that

      What the UK should and probably will do, is give our surplus jabs to "third world" countries or those where we like to take vacations, outside the EU.

      I'm not quite ready to start eating into my 90/180 days allowance in the EU just yet - but very keen to holiday further afield.

      1. EvilDrSmith

        Re: Wow that

        The UK is one of the leading (possibly THE leading) member of COVAX, the WHO body that's trying to ensure the roll out vaccines across the globe. As such, the UK is already committed to "develop a mechanism to enable countries with surplus doses to distribute them equitably".

        Providing the UK's surplus doses to the EU might not be viewed globally as "equitable distribution".

        I suspect any global reputational damage to the UK if it did supply the EU in this manner would be a lot less than the damage suffered by the EU for being seen to demand said vaccines in preference to them going to countries in say Africa or South America.

  14. ThatOne Silver badge
    Devil

    Yeah well

    Politics is all about deflecting responsibility, and claiming any glory there is to be claimed.

    Remember when the vaccines started to become a tangible reality? All the governing bodies were prompt to share the limelight and promise a worldwide and totally unselfish collaboration. It sounded way too good to be possible...

    Of course the initial wave of unconditional bliss didn't resist the harsh reality of having to create vaccines and vaccinate about all the human population of this planet (minus anti-vaxxers and other Darwin Awards nominees), so started the general finger pointing, the foot tapping, and the self-righteous declarations. As expected.

    So yes, it's normal, they will blame each other so nobody can blame them. That's bound to happen when you assign professional leeches with overdeveloped egos to manage something more complicated than their funding rally or the decoration of their new office...

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: Yeah well

      There'll be a lot less anti-vaxxers after this - one way or another.

      1. veti Silver badge

        Re: Yeah well

        Remember, Covid only kills - at worst - less than 2% of its victims. Not enough to seriously thin the herd.

        But anti-vaxxers are numerous enough to undermine the attempt to reach herd immunity. They can still screw it up for the rest of us, without paying a significantly worse price themselves.

        This isn't over yet.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Yeah well

          "Remember, Covid only kills - at worst - less than 2% of its victims. Not enough to seriously thin the herd."

          Anti-vaxxers thrive on the ability to argue that vaccines save lives when no one is dying. Even at 2% of cases, thats still enough for media attention and communities being aware of deaths.

          If your point is that this won't eliminate the anti-vaxx movement, I agree - the relatively small number of people leading these groups make hundreds of millions of pounds globally selling fact cures and alternative medicines as alternatives to vaccines so they will continue to adapt to keep their businesses alive. But this will hurt their businesses

          And maybe lead social media to provide misinformation warnings for key people in the antivax platforms across all of their different sources...

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Yeah well

          "But anti-vaxxers are numerous enough to undermine the attempt to reach herd immunity."

          It's still not established whether the vaccine stops transmission. If the virus is able to survive in the upper respiratory tract out of reach of the immune system then someone can have a symptomless infection and spread virus although they're protected against any major symptoms. That means that the anti-vaxers would-be parasites can still be infected by those who've been vaccinated.

          It also means that we still can't get rid of the virus. Let's hope that situation doesn't happen.

  15. werdsmith Silver badge

    So AZ agreed to supply the vaccine at cost and agreed to try to produce millions on millions of doses.

    Such production levels have to be ramped up from the norm and it should be no surprise to anyone if some initial production batches don’t work out and have to go down the drain. These are new ventures.

    What AZ don’t deserve after going all out with Oxford University is to be shat on by scum narcissistic politician wankers.

    1. Dazed and Confused

      Re: shat on by scum narcissistic politician wankers.

      I wish I could up vote you a hundred times

      As they say, no good turn ever goes unpunished.

    2. Stoney_Brennan

      I too wish I could up-vote you more than once!

  16. NerryTutkins

    bit confused about all this

    Firstly, we don't seem to know a lot of the details, such as how much of the UK's vaccine supply is coming from the EU. I imagine regardless of contracts, there is not much the UK could do about that if the EU blocks shipments, anymore than the EU can do much to for the UK to deliver vaccines from its plants to the EU.

    Secondly, the WHO has condemned the EU for threatening to block exports, because it is "morally wrong" to embark on vaccine nationalism. Yet if the UK has contracts that require AZ to deliver to them first, even if it means shipping EU produced vaccine to them to complete vaccinating everyone (100m doses) before many of the most vulnerable old people in the EU have been vaccinated, that doesn't seem any different in terms of preventing others having the vaccine until you have satisfied all your own needs. Legally you might be relying on contracts rather than emergency export bans or whatever, but we're talking morally not legally. It seems exactly the same to me. Has the WHO condemned the UK?

    Thirdly, it seems reasonable legally that any block like the UK, US or EU can force through heavy handed export bans in cases of national security. Now I suppose you could argue that vaccinating your population is a dubious use of 'national security', but then again, the UK has specifically refused to allow its contract with AZ to be published due to 'national security'. It would therefore be rather difficult to argue both angles at the same time.

    I suspect that this will all be moot in a month or two. The EU production will ramp up, and by early summer everywhere will be swimming in vaccines, probably while the last virus wave was taken down by lockdowns anyway.

    But it may well have poisoned relations, which is pretty bad news as I work in ecommerce and basically none of my clients are able to ship stuff to the EU due to paperwork, and orders have collapsed. At present, the UK is not applying checks to incoming shipments from the EU, but they plan to implement that soon. At that point, there will be total collapse in trade. And I guess banks hoping to get equivalency are screwed now, it seems there is very little goodwill left.

    Whatever happens, there needs to be talks over smoothing out trade, because long term the present arrangement is going to kill many businesses.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: bit confused about all this

      "I suspect that this will all be moot in a month or two. The EU production will ramp up, and by early summer everywhere will be swimming in vaccines, probably while the last virus wave was taken down by lockdowns anyway."

      I suspect you are being overly optimistic - while the UK may have the vaccines it needs by late summer (at least for a first dose), a lot of European countries will be at least 6 months behind that and 2nd/3rd world countries potentially a year after that depending on how many of the 50+ vaccines are eventually approved.

      And this makes the assumption that the current vaccines are effective against all variants and that we are aiming to get the virus to manageable levels (i.e. reducing serious cases/deaths to manageable levels t allow hospital services to begin to return to normal but not necessarily allowing fully reopening in a vaccinated country or at least businesses not being willing to fully re-open if the virus could shut them down). That would potentially allow travel to resume within European late 2021/early 2022 and other countries after that.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: bit confused about all this

      AstraZeneca plan production this year of 2 billion doses worldwide. I’m sure they’ll miss that, but that’s only one vaccine. I expect there’ll be 3-4 billion doses this year but most of those will come after the Summer. Everyone is slow to ramp up, but we’ve now got a handful of good vaccines, and growing.

  17. spold
    Childcatcher

    Never let....

    ...the lawyers get their hands on anything more technical than a kiddie activity centre. A bunch sent me a redacted word document where they had highlighted the bits in black. Select all... un-highlight...

  18. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Facepalm

    EU Upset?

    The EU has said it paid €336m for guaranteed orders, and is upset the company is delivering elsewhere while its vaccine centres sit empty.

    Meanwhile over in Blighty...

    The empty Nightingale hospitals show the cost of putting buildings before people

    The government spent £530m on showy infrastructure for healthcare – but failed to invest in the staff who provide it

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jan/27/empty-nightingale-hospitals-government-healthcare-staff

    You couldn't make it up...

    "Yes Minister" - empty hospital

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eyf97LAjjcY

    Trebles all round.

    Florence Nightingale is no doubt spinning in her grave

  19. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Leaky, Messy Contract

    Lionel Messi: Barcelona to take legal action after forward's £492m contract leaked

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/55873590

    €336m? £492m - time to replace the Pogba with the Messi...

    https://www.theregister.com/2016/10/21/new_measurement_alert_the_pogba/

    £492m=555m EUR

    Does that mean the value of the vaccine contract is 0.54 Messi?

    Now, here's a coincidence...

    300/336=0.89

    1EUR=0.89 GBP

  20. terry2

    someone hasn't read the contract

    As I read it, section 5.4 is about allowing vaccine from non-EU plants to be distributed within the EU and sets out how AZ has to ask for permission to do that. However the vaccine from the UK is being allowed to be distributed without having to go through those hoops.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: someone hasn't read the contract

      Thanks. Now it makes sense. It would have made even more sense if, instead of the garbage about for these purposes UK is part of the EU they'd just have talked about manufacture in the EU and UK. I suppose, however, if AZ had ramped up production outside both and they were still having problems in the EU plants the reservations would have dried up PDQ.

  21. strixtechnica

    Substituted Article 5 (page 11)?

    I have a copy of the semi-unredacted version (the bookmarks don't reveal all, but they reveal enough). It's not hard to find. Importantly, it's direct-from-digital rather than being scanned, which is how this mistake happened in the first place.

    One thing that is very odd about it, is that page 11 — Article 5 concerning manufacturing, the very point under contention — appears to have been substituted, or at least is not directly from the same source as the rest of the document. The font is a different weight, the text is not selectable and the page is a slightly different size, suggesting that it is from a scanned source.

    The same is true of the first page of Schedule A. I wonder what could possibly explain it? There is no way to verify the authenticity of any of the contract, but substitutions of individual pages are definitely not a good look.

    1. Displacement Activity

      Re: Substituted Article 5 (page 11)?

      Interesting. Are 5.1 and 5.4 inconsistent? Unfortunately, I got the scanned version on Friday. I can't find a link to the pdf version anywhere in the article or the comments. The scanned version is absolutely clear, though - the commission hasn't got a leg to stand on.

      Also pretty astonishing that there are 140+ comments and only 2 or 3 people appear to have read it. The rest is just noise.

  22. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Morality beats legality

    125,000 Britons have been killed by covid-19, one of the worst rates anywhere.

    There is a moral duty to prioritise vaccinations within the UK and Ireland to lower our death rate before donating vaccines to nations that haven't been as badly hit.

    That's not self-interest, it's triage.

    The riots in Europe opposing sensible lockdowns, and the Euro politicians demeaning the AZ vaccine, are less than persuasive.

    1. naive Silver badge

      Re: Morality beats legality

      It may be safe to assume CCP virus statistics in Europe are a mix of ignorance, half lies and propaganda on a level which make German 1945 newsreels look like unbiased fact finding.

      In the Netherlands they didn't systematically check if CCP virus was the cause of death until at least Q3 2020, I doubt if they do now. Unless flagrant failures in the medical system of an individual country can be identified, the highest numbers reported by any EU country are a good measure for all of them.

      Exactly one year ago the Dutch CDC (RIVM) claimed the CCP virus is just a hype, people were advised to wash their hands and not to worry, the WHO repeating Chinese CCP propaganda may have sped up the spread of the virus in Q1 2020 significantly.

  23. umacf24

    Document Formats That Are Cleverer Than You Are

    I'd post a list but basically, they all are, except plain text.

    And even plain text runs into trouble with <CR><LF> vs <LF><CR> vs '\n'. Not to mention Unicode.

  24. Rol Silver badge

    The politics of old age.

    "Mmm! So in order for us to fix our looming pension deficit, we have got to come up with something like what the UK did when they discharged elderly patients back to their care homes."

    "Death camps?"

    "Nein, nein! No we need something a little more subtle than the English solution"

    "How's about stating the vaccine isn't proven in the over 65 age group and refuse point blank to administer it to the elderly?"

    "That, my friend, is a brilliant plan."

  25. This post has been deleted by its author

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    See? The EU can survive perfectly without the UK.

    They can even create their own IT cock-up without our governments help!

  27. Steve C#

    The Japanese are suppossed to START vaccinating in 3 months on April 1st.

  28. codejunky Silver badge

    Shock

    And again we were right about the EU and their slow incompetent ruling-

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2021/02/05/brexit-britain-vaccine-speedboat-says-ursula-von-der-leyen/

    Another brexit success and this time one that cant be claimed as 'despite brexit'.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shock

      Dithering

      It's like my girlfriend and shopping for shoes online.

      GF: I like these shoes

      AC: are you going to buy them

      GF: they might be in the sale

      AC: they'll have sold out by then, would you like me to buy them for you

      GF: but they'd be cheaper than this in the sale

      AC: you'll get plenty of use out of them, if you want them buy them

      ...

      GF: The sales started, but they don't have those shoes in my size

      AC: bites his lips

      GF: Its not fair, I can never buy shoes I like in my size.

  29. aqk
    Pint

    Poor UK. And poor Europe.

    Once again, Canada has it in the bag!

    The Canadian government craftily now has dibs on 25 million doses of vaccine. We expect to be way ahead of Europe, UK and the USA in vaccinating our citizens!

    Some of this vaccine has already been delivered to us. I saw forklifts unloading tons of it from giant cargo planes in the far north! The rest of this vaccine should be delivered to Canada by mid February. And every Canadian still living should be vaccinated by March!

    Don't believe me? Just ask any Canadian politician!

    As Canada's Prime Minister Sir Wilfred Laurier once said- "The Twentieth Century belongs to Canada!"

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