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Government rejects EU COVID-19 vaccines scheme

23 July 2020

The EU Environment Sub-Committee writes to Secretary of State Alok Sharma MP to raise questions about the UK Government's decision not to participate in the EU's COVID-19 vaccine procurement strategy.


The EU's key objectives are to secure a safe, effective vaccine, that is available in a timely and equitable way across the EU, while "leading the global solidarity effort". The strategy states that "joint action at EU level is the surest, quickest and most efficient way" to develop a vaccine.

The Government has decided not to participate in this scheme, on the grounds that the Government:

  • would not be able to take part in the governance of the scheme or the negotiating team, so could not be confident that the scheme would meet UK needs; and
  • would be bound to end its own negotiations with vaccine developers, which are already underway.


The Committee has now written to the Secretary of State with the following questions among others:

  • What degree of participation in governance meetings and negotiations would have been possible, and why was this not enough to secure the UK's interests?
  • As the vaccine scheme is funded via the EU's 2020 budget, is the UK paying for it despite not participating?
  • Did the devolved administrations support your decision not to participate in the EU's vaccine procurement scheme?

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