Thread: on the problems with Covid vaccination in the EU. The 27 have bought vaccines and is approving them as a bloc. Giving those medicines to people, once okayed by the regulator, is down to member states. So first the problems with purchasing 1/
The EU, like others incl UK, spread its bets, initially buying 1.3bn doses: 200m Pfizer/Biontech; 300m AZN/Oxford; 300m Sanofi; 225 Curevac; 200m Johnson; 80m Moderna. But it was slower (by a few weeks) to do so than countries like UK, IL, & US. 2/
Critics of the EU approach note that two of the biggest initial buys (Sanofi and Curevac) were products very unlikely to deliver early in 2021 & may not deliver *at all* in 2021. Less charitable observers say EU put FR and GE pharma interests ahead of rapid vaccination 3/
By late 2020, reluctant to give AZN rapid approval, it became clear that only have the Pfizer jab would be available for EU-wide roll out, so they ordered more of that vaccine. As @derspiegel has shown, Germany also started to make national efforts to get more Pfizer doses 4/
All this ordering means the EU is now buying 2.3bn doses for 448m citizens. But as the Commission told MEPs yesterday, really big quantities will not be available until April/May. It aims to pass surplus doses to developing countries. So two big questions remain 5/
Will the slowness of this acquisition process leave EU members exposed if cases surge during the next few weeks? Ireland has seen a steep rise, & this is without the more contagious B117 Covid variant being widespread yet 6/…
The 2nd big question concerns very different speeds of roll out by member states with the limited supplies they've got - DK quite fast, GE, getting there, FR & NL *way* behind. Could widely differing infection rates prompt intra-EU border closures? 7/7

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More from @MarkUrban01

9 Oct 20
Big military lessons coming out of the #Karabakh fighting between Armenia & Azerbaijan: firstly, it calls into question the future of manned combat aircraft since drones can take on exacting tasks such as the destruction of concealed or moving armour 1/
Azerbaijan invested in unpiloted aircraft - not just the big ones like Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drone but also much smaller Israeli Orbiter & Harop that circle over the battlefield, costing a fraction of what they destroy let lone a fighter jet 2/
Armenia nor Azerbaijan only have a few crewed combat jets, around 10 & 20 serviceable respectively. So drones show the way to smaller or emerging military powers to gain control of the skies by knocking out enemy air defences without risking pilots 3/
Read 9 tweets
5 Aug 20
#BeirutBlast as we understand the sequence: in 2013 a Moldovan flagged vessel, Rhosus put into Beirut after suffering technical problems. It was en route Mozambique with a cargo of ammonium nitrate - unclear whether it was made for explosive or fertilizer use, it can be both 1/
Not long after Rhosus arrived in Beirut it was impounded, & its Cyprus-based Russian owners gave up on the vessel and its cargo. Given the danger of leaving this potential bomb in place, the Lebanese unloaded and impounded the cargo 2/…
Lebanese customs tried to shift the 2750 tons of ammonium nitrate, to the army or an explosives company for disposal. Today copies of letters sent between 2014 & 2017 alerting people to the dangers of leaving such a volatile cargo in place emerged 3/…
Read 5 tweets
21 Jul 20
#RussiaReport is released, by Int & Sec Committee - it criticises UK intelligence agencies for their lack of interest in Russian attempts to interfere in the democratic process, saying their 'extreme caution' in this was 'illogical' 1/
Criticising the apparatus of government the ISC says intelligence agencies could have prepared better before 2017 to detect & counter Russian activities aimed at influencing elections. Written evidence to ISC suggests the govt did not see or seek evidence of Russian success 2/
"no-one in government knew... because they did not want to know" says @StewartHosieSNP at launch of #RussiaReport 3/
Read 14 tweets
19 Jul 20
The Intelligence & Security Committee or ISC has promised to release the long delayed #RussiaReport by Wednesday - so what should we expect? A thread ... 1/7
It's about the Russian threat to the UK, incl military activities close to our air & sea space, cyber, intelligence ops incl the Salisbury poisoning, as well as political interference. Given this breadth of scope, passages on Brexit or party funding may be quite brief 2/7
The open section of the #RussiaReport is thought to be about 50 pages long. There's an annexe of classified materiel that will remain secret but even the published part has had 'extensive redactions' by both the intelligence agencies & No10. We won't know who cut what 3/7
Read 7 tweets
28 Jan 20
A thread on GCHQ and Huawei: however the government frames today's announcement it's fair to say that UK cyber security professionals have deep reservations about the Chinese company 1/6
This stems in part from the experience of using Huawei to modernise the BT's trunk fibre optic system during 2005-2010. According to GCHQ sources, "essentially they gave themselves the ability to switch off the UK internet" because of the installed hardware 2/6
Huawei denied they had compromised the UK fibre optic system & agreed to the setting up in 2010 of a test centre where GCHQ could rigorously examine its hard & software. The company insists it's never been faulted, but that's not really the point 3/6
Read 6 tweets
31 Oct 19
The Parliamentary Intelligence & Security Cttee report on Russian actions against the UK was sent to No10 on 17/10 with the idea it should be released on 28/10, before the election, but No10 has not signed it off 1/3
I understand that the Int & Sec Cttee report includes evidence from the UK intelligence services concerning Russian attempts to influence the outcome of the 2016 Brexit referendum and 2017 General Election 2/3
The report will have to be released by Tuesday at latest before current committee is dissolved, & failure to do so because of a refusal by No10 to sign it off may be seen by many as an attempt to suppress evidence of previous Russian attempts to subvert UK polls 3/3
Read 5 tweets

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