Matt Hancock faced a backlash today after claiming Brexit resulted in Britain beating the rest of the world to approve the new coronavirus vaccine.
The Minister of Health said that Europeans are "moving a little slower" because of the additional bureaucracy – but stressed that the Pfizer BioNTech surge was still undergoing intensive security checks.
However, the UK Medicines and Health Products Regulator (MHRA) was quick to downplay the idea, stating that the approval was done using provisions of European law that will still be binding on the UK until the end of the transition period in January.
German MEP Pieter Liese weighed in to insist that individual EU member states could have approved the vaccine but decided to wait for the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to review more information rather than the "hasty" example Britain's to follow.
Meanwhile, Berlin's ambassador to Britain issued a sharp retort after Economy Secretary Alok Sharma said history will remember the "Britain-led indictment of mankind against this disease".
Matt Hancock (pictured today on Downing Street) said Europeans are "moving a little slower" due to the added red tape – but stressed that the Pfizer BioNTech bump had gone through intense security checks.
Berlin's ambassador to Britain issued a sharp retort after Economy Secretary Alok Sharma said history will remember "Britain-led indictment of mankind against this disease".
The UK Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) said the Pfizer vaccine (pictured) was approved using provisions of European law
Andreas Michaelis pointed out that BioNTech was a German company and added: "Why is it so difficult to recognize this important step forward as a great international effort and success?"
Mr Hancock began a round of interviews with Row Radio this morning: “The reason we moved so fast and the UK is the first country in the world to have a clinically approved vaccine, the reason is twofold.
“Firstly, this is the first reason because the MRHA has worked extremely well with the company to look at this data as it comes in and do things in parallel rather than one at a time, as usual.
& # 39; The second reason is that until we were in the European Medicines Agency (EMA) earlier this year, due to Brexit, we were able to make a decision based on the UK regulator which is a world class regulator to do. and not walking at the pace of Europeans who move a little slower.
"We are performing the same security reviews and processes, but the Brexit means we have been able to speed up the process."
Mr Liese, who sits on the European Parliament's Public Health Committee and is a member of Angela Merkel's CDU party, said: “I think this decision is problematic and I recommend that EU Member States not repeat the process in the same way.
"A few weeks of thorough EMA scrutiny is better than rushing to get a vaccine approved."
He suggested the move may have been influenced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson's internal troubles.
The UK now has nearly 60,000 corona deaths. On top of that, Britain is an island and has never been a Schengen member, which means open borders in Europe, ”he said.
"Great Britain should compare itself more to countries like New Zealand or Ireland, which have the infection rate much better under control."
The EMA suggested carrying out stricter controls than the emergency procedure used by the MHRA.
At a press conference, MHRA boss Dr. June Raine (picture): "We were able to authorize the delivery of this vaccine according to the provisions of European law, which will last until January 1st."
A spokeswoman said: "The MHRA's temporary approval of the vaccine is not a marketing authorization.
"It differs from the marketing authorizations in the number of evidence submitted and the controls required."
The EMA believes that the Conditional Marketing Authorization (CMA) process is "the most appropriate regulatory mechanism for use in the current pandemic emergency".
A CMA application is supported by "large amounts of data" submitted by businesses and "provides a controlled and robust framework".
BioNTech is a German company and the ministers' attempts to portray the approval as a British success story have been criticized by the Berlin government.
The German Ambassador to Great Britain, Andreas Michaelis, attacked the assertion by Minister of Economic Affairs Alok Sharma that "we will remember this moment in the years to come as the day Great Britain brought the indictment of mankind against this disease".
The diplomat said, “Why is it so difficult to see this important step forward as a great international effort and success?
“I really don't think this is a national story.
"Although the German company BioNTech has made a decisive contribution, it is European and transatlantic."
At a press conference, MHRA boss Dr. June Raine: “We were able to authorize the supply of this vaccine on the basis of the provisions of European law in force until January 1st.
"Our speed or our progress has been entirely dependent on the availability of data in our ongoing review and the independent advice we have received."
Downing Street stopped to support Mr Hancock's claim about Brexit.
The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "It is clear that we are the first country in the world to approve this vaccine and it is incredibly positive news that we can start spreading it."
(tagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) Nachrichten (t) Matt Hancock (t) Brexit (t) Pfizer (t) Coronavirus