THE EUROPEAN UNION has criticised the UK's rapid approval of Covid-19 vaccinations, warning that their hastiness is inappropriate and potentially unsafe.
On Wednesday morning, Britain announced that it had approved Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine for use.
The UK has become the first country in the world to clinically authorise a vaccine, and the Government said it hoped to begin administering jabs to the public by next week.
Under EU rules, any coronavirus vaccine must be authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), but EU countries can use an emergency procedure that allows them to distribute a vaccine at home for temporary use.
Britain, which is still operating under EU law until it officially leaves the bloc next year, exercised this procedure.
But while Downing Street celebrates, it appears Brussels still has some concerns over the Britain's readiness to administer the vaccine so soon.
In a rather blunt statement, the EMA said their longer approval procedure was more appropriate as it was based on more evidence and required more checks than the emergency procedure used by Britain.
A spokesman for the European Commission said the EMA's procedure was "the most effective regulatory mechanism to grant all EU citizens' access to a safe and effective vaccine".
Peter Liese, an EU lawmaker and member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's party, also criticised Britain's hastiness, saying: "I consider this decision to be problematic and recommend that EU Member States do not repeat the process in the same way.
"A few weeks of thorough examination by the European Medicines Agency is better than a hasty emergency marketing authorisation of a vaccine," he added.