Emmanuel Macron condemned in France over vaccine: 'UK did everything – we haven't'

The French President is facing an uphill battle to get France vaccinated quickly after delays in delivery and his startling comments on the AstraZeneca jab. In January, Mr Macron claimed that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was “quasi-ineffective” for over-65s, hours before it was approved by regulators for use on all adults in the EU. This week, France approved the jab, but the President’s previous comments could prove detrimental to the rollout. Only 273,000 AstraZeneca doses have been administered in France out of 1.7 million received as of the end of February, according to Paris health ministry figures.

Mr Macron’s comments came before another big mistake by his government, as politicians in France fumed at the country’s failure to quickly secure Valneva jabs.

Christelle Morancais, regional council president for the Loire region, told the Telegraph last month: “What happened in the UK? They rolled out the red carpet for this company.

“They helped with financing, installation. They’ve done everything to make it happened and we haven’t been able to do that.”

Frank Grimaud, chief executive at Valneva, added: “We have a manufacturing factory in Scotland nearby Edinburgh and it was considered very quickly by the UK as a very important asset.

“So that is why it was in a way natural to find very quickly an agreement to develop an inactivated vaccine and to develop our manufacturing capacity.”

Valneva – a Franco-Austrian company – has sold 100 million jabs to the UK, costing £1.2billion.

Britain will begin receiving its doses in October, while France and the EU may have to wait until 2022.

Ms Morancais added: “It is vital that the state proves it has much more agility and reactivity when it comes to supporting and defending our companies at the forefront of fighting the virus.”

“France has missed the chance of its own Covid vaccine.

“I have a terrible feeling of waste and of incomprehension in the face of this French and European failure.”

READ MORE: Macron enraged EU leaders over Brexit: ‘Very irritating!’

In January, leaders in Brussels came under international scrutiny after a controversial attempt to block jabs from entering the UK.

The EU faced off with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca after it warned it would only be able to deliver a quarter of vaccines originally agreed.

The company meanwhile reassured the UK that it would fulfil its contract.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen then argued it was “crystal clear” the contract required AstraZeneca to deliver doses produced in the UK to the EU to make up for a shortfall in orders.

The EU then threatened to override the Northern Ireland protocol – part of the Brexit trade deal with the UK – in order to halve the delivery of jabs into the nation.

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Following widespread condemnation, the EU backed down – but the fiasco was a humiliating episode for Ms von der Leyen and her colleagues.

As Germany also struggles to rollout vaccines, Chancellor Angela Merkel was urged to follow Britain’s vaccine strategy last week.

Thomas Mertens, the head of Germany’s Standing Committee on Vaccination (Stiko), said that the country was likely to change its controversial guidelines against not to give the AstraZeneca vaccine to over 65s, saying errors had been made.

Promising “a new, updated recommendation very soon,” Mertens said: “Somehow the whole thing went very badly.

“We had the data that we had and based on this data we made the recommendation. But we never criticised the vaccine. We only criticised the fact that the data situation for the age group over 65 was not good or not sufficient.”

The UK has managed to vaccinate over 20 million people so far.

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