It was always going to be a very difficult and monumental task for a global vaccine rollout which has very quickly descended into frustration and a maelstrom of logistical and political challenges.
For the forex markets, the European Union’s threat to impose a vaccine border between Northern Ireland and the Republic risks reigniting one of Brexit’s bitterest disputes.
This threat comes during a time where the European commission president Ursula von der Leyen has already faced blame over the relative slowness of the EU’s vaccination programme compared with nations such as the US, UK and Israel.
Meanwhile, on that front, AstraZeneca will deliver 9 million additional doses in the first quarter (40 million in total) compared to last week’s offer & will start deliveries one week earlier than scheduled, Ursula von der Leyen announced today on Twitter.
”The company will also expand its manufacturing capacity in Europe.”
While there is news that Britain is confident its COVID-19 vaccination programme is secure after receiving guarantees from the European Union, the EU’s initial threat to stop vaccines crossing freely from the EU to Northern Ireland will impact sentiment on the pound.
The EU has signalled on Friday that it would trigger the clause to stop Northern Ireland becoming a back door for vaccines to enter the UK from the bloc, but ditched the decision after a diplomatic outcry from Dublin and London.
Also, the toxic political row over Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit status has been re-opened and the WHO has also criticised the EU’s announcement of export controls.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director, has said “vaccine nationalism” would only serve to draw out the Covid crisis.
Dr Mariângela Simão, WHO assistant director-general for access to medicines and health products, said it was a “very worrying trend”.
In the US, the latest update comes in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which has just issued an order requiring travellers in the United States to wear masks as part of a new initiative aimed at stemming outbreaks of the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, president Joe Biden has pledged to boost the rollout of Covid vaccines in the US and has criticised the speed of the operation under the previous administration.
It’s been “a dismal failure thus far,” the president said after taking office.
He’s committed to overseeing 100 million vaccine doses administered in his first 100 days.
Biden has more recently said, “I think we may be able to get that to 1.5 million a day, rather than one million a day.”
In order to achieve this, Biden has appointed a new Covid-19 response team to plan and orchestrate these measures.
He wants to increase state funding, calling for a $25 billion package for vaccination manufacturing and distribution.
Biden is also planning to open 100 federally funded vaccination sites.
- GBP/USD wavers around 1.3700 amid mixed covid vaccine news, hints of UK’s recovery plan