German Health Minister: Brexit Enabled Earlier British Vaccine Rollout mdi-fullscreen

Smug Remainers have today been crowing that the Pfizer vaccine was approved today in the UK under the EU medicines regime (all EU law still applies to the UK until the end of this month). Whilst vaccine approval is reserved matter for the European Medical Agency, the EU Medicines Directive generously allows national medicines regulators (like the UK’s MHRA) to temporarily approve products for use in response to the spread of pathogens. Like Covid-19.

Yet the fact is that had the UK remained a member of the EU it would not have been able to approve the vaccine this quickly. As Jens Spahn, the German health minister, explained earlier today, despite the exemption in EU law, EU member states took a collective decision to take a common approach to vaccine approval. As a result of Brexit the UK is not an EU member state and therefore not locked into that common approach…

“All 27 member states will have access to vaccines at the same time otherwise some member states may have have been able to procure vaccines at an earlier stage that others”

“We have member states including, Germany, who could have issued such an emergency authorisation if we’d wanted to. But we decided against this and what we opted for was a common European approach to move forward together.”

And moving at the speed of 27 is evidently slower than moving at the speed of one…

UK Ministers are today correctly saying that the law was changed in October to allow this all to happen. What they are referring to is amending the Human Medicines Regulations to clarify ambiguity surrounding the “temporary” vaccine approval EU law grants to member states – those ambiguities factoring into the the reasons the EU decided to move collectively. The UK’s law changes ensure that vaccines ‘temporarily’ authorised under the EU’s regulations are treated in the same way as fully licensed products. The changes ensure rollout can happen, whereas under the EU directive, advertising and distribution could have been hindered… 

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mdi-account-multiple-outline Jens Spahn
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