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Coronavirus: UK considering whether to join EU's vaccine scheme as race is on to secure supply

The UK is currently in talks with the EU about joining its coronavirus vaccine scheme to make joint purchases when one becomes available.

A European Commission spokesperson said on Friday that discussions were “ongoing” after the bloc reached out to the UK to establish whether it wanted to cooperate on the approach.

According to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, “a significant number” of world leaders have been contacted for the same reason in the hope that collective purchases would prevent vaccine prices from inflating due to competition.

The EU is planning to spend billions of euros on advanced payments for a potential vaccine – and, if the UK joins the mix, could give an idea of cooperation between the two post-Brexit.

It also comes just days after the US brought nearly the entire world’s supply of remdesivir – one of two drugs proven to treat COVID-19, and the only one approved by the European Medicines Agency.

The Financial Times quoted a government official on Friday as saying “work is ongoing to determine whether and how the UK participates in the EU vaccines strategy”.

They said decisions could be made as early as next week after considerations are given to the sensitivity of joining the EU scheme amid Brexit.

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