LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday said that the country's approval of Pfizer/BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine candidate was a result of international efforts, declining to credit Brexit for the fast pace of the regulatory process.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn had earlier said that it was misplaced to celebrate the approval of the vaccine as some sort of victory for Brexit Britain. The European Medical Agency (EMA) is still assessing the shot, while Britain has approved the vaccine for emergency use, a move allowed under European law which will regulate the sector until the end of the year.
Asked if the accelerated approval was Britain's first "big Brexit bonus", Johnson gave credit to the UK's Vaccine Taskforce but also said that all seven vaccines that Britain has ordered were the result of global efforts.
"You've got scientists around the world coming together to make this possible. And it's a truly it's a truly international thing and very, very moving to see it," Johnson said at a news conference.
Pressed to give a clearer answer, Johnson said he was exercising a "self-denying ordinance" of diplomacy and tact.
(Reporting by William James, writing by Alistair Smout. Editing by Andrew MacAskill)