A vaccine for coronavirus has been approved to use in the United Kingdom and mass vaccinations could reportedly begin as early as next week. However, one thing that should be made obvious is that the success of the vaccine had very little to do with the UK.
The vaccine, which has been engineered by the pharmaceutical firms Pfizer and BionNTech who are American and German companies respectively. German-Turkish scientists have also reportedly worked on the vaccine but according to business secretary Alok Sharma this should be seen “as the moment as the day the UK led humanity’s charge against this disease.” He did add to this beforehand by saying “To everyone involved in this breakthrough: Thank you” but failed to mention the other countries that have been involved in the process.
That’s exactly what the Tory minister tweeted on Tuesday morning just after it was announced that the vaccine was going to be wheeled out in the UK. Although its easy to see what Sharma was getting at in his tweet for some it felt a bit self-congratulatory, especially when the UK had almost nothing to do with the creation of the Covid-19 vaccine.
LBC Radio host, James O’Brien was one of the most vocal critics of Sharma’s statement. On his radio show on Tuesday, O’Brien said in response to the MP “That's the Secretary of State for Business trying to write a new verse of Rule Britannia. After the triumph of a vaccine developed in Germany by a company led by scientists of Turkish extraction in conjunction with a pharmaceutical giant based in America and under the auspices of the FDA, Alok Sharma sought to cast that as somehow a British triumph. God knows how.”
The criticism for Sharma didn’t end there with the German ambassador for the UK, Andreas Michaelis asking the Tory “why it was so difficult to recognise this important step forward as a great international effort and success?”
Why is it so difficult to recognize this important step forward as a great international effort and success. I real… https://t.co/vDmOOOI0kv
— German Ambassador to the Court of St. James's (@German Ambassador to the Court of St. James's)
Co-leader of the Green Party Caroline Lucas said that words failed her upon seeing Sharma’s tweet and asked why the Tories have to resort to ‘pathetic, outdated and inaccurate self-promotion.’
Words fail me ... a German biotech company set up by Turkish-German scientists & US pharma make a vaccine and someh… https://t.co/VeEVTJIhQ7