AstraZeneca – Our new-found freedoms allowed Britain to lead the world with jabs says ANDREA LEADSOM | Express Comment | Comment
With the benefit of hindsight it’s easy to criticise decisions, and Labour’s leader has done more than his fair share of that. One area of our response of which everyone should be immensely proud is our vaccines programme. It has demonstrated the best of British.
Our academic institutions and scientists have lived up to their world-leading reputation, with researchers at Oxford University developing a successful vaccine with AstraZeneca and Imperial College London using RNA technology to target new coronavirus variants.
In May, the Government backed our scientists and researchers with £84million. The return has been nothing short of miraculous.
AstraZeneca and Oxford have delivered a safe and effective vaccine at lightning speed. Typically, it takes 10 years.
I have known AstraZeneca’s CEO for a while and I’m delighted but not surprised that under his leadership they’ve provided every single vaccine at cost price. This represents Global Britain at its best.
Labour’s plan to undermine the entrepreneurial spirit of firms like AstraZeneca would have robbed us of the tools to develop our own vaccine.
Our new freedoms as an independent nation meant we were able to place orders as early as May and get them approved
by our regulators, whose expertise the EU stupidly dispensed with when it moved the European Medicines Agency HQ out of London.
Sadly for our EU friends, the bureaucracies Labour wanted us locked into have meant they lag way behind.
Sir Keir Starmer’s spokesman for Europe called us “dumb and dumber” for opting out of the EU vaccine scheme. I’ll leave it to Sunday Express readers to judge who seems dumber now.
Huge praise is also due to the Vaccines Taskforce, led by Kate Bingham.
But instead of celebrating her leadership, Sir Keir’s attack dogs have laid into her, suggesting not having a medical background in the public sector means her motives are in doubt.
We’ve vaccinated a greater share of our population than any other large nation, and given more doses than France, Italy and Spain combined. It has been truly remarkable.
The past year has been incredibly tough, but the vaccine effort is something to rally around and take pride in.
We can see light at the end of the tunnel, with the prospect of our children back in school, businesses able to function again and perhaps most importantly, being able to hug those we love once again.