Vaccine war with Europe risks UK’s escape from Covid pandemic, Boris Johnson is warned

A “vaccine war” with the EU risks undermining the UK’s escape from coronavirus by allowing mutant variants of the disease to develop on the continent, Boris Johnson has been warned.

It came as the prime minister acknowledged that any third wave of Covid-19 in continental Europe would “wash up on our shores as well”.

Medical experts also warned that even with more than half the adult population having received at least one jab, it remains “inevitable” that the UK will face further waves of the disease, driven by “escape variants”.

Mr Johnson is engaged in a last-ditch drive to see off a threatened EU ban on vaccine exports to the UK, speaking to German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Emmanuel Macron by telephone ahead of a crucial EU summit on Thursday.

As Whitehall sources said the UK wanted to “turn down the temperature” on the issue, the prime minister said he was “reassured” that EU leaders were not looking for a “blockade”.

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