Defying the Fact-Checkers, Majority of Britons Think Europe-Beating Vaccine Rollout is Brexit Boon

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 12: Bar staff serve beer for table service in the garden of the The Duke of Kent pub which reopened at lunchtime today on April 12, 2021 in London, United Kingdom. England has taken a significant step in easing its lockdown restrictions, with non-essential retail, beauty …
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Despite fact-checkers insisting the claim was false, 62 per cent of Britons think Brexit helped the nation’s Coronavirus vaccine rollout, with an even stronger majority saying the European Union had been outright hostile to the United Kingdom over vaccine supplies.

Nations worldwide have been locked into efforts to vaccinate their populations against the Covid-19 virus in 2021, the method of moving forwards from widespread and damaging lockdowns world governments decided would be most effective.

There were dire warnings in 2020 that if Britain decided to go ahead with Brexit and attempt to run its own vaccination programme it would find itself getting shots slower and more expensively than the European Union, but the opposite has actually proven to be true. As of Sunday, over 47 per cent of people in the United Kingdom have had a shot of coronavirus vaccine, whereas in Europe the figure stands at 15 per cent, a major political scandal on the continent where millions put trust in the European Union to deliver for them.

Now 62 per cent of Britons think the United Kingdom leaving the European Union has made its vaccination programme better, and the margin of those who support Brexit is now even higher than it was on referendum day in 2016, Bloomberg reports.

Noting the results of a JL Partners for Bloomberg poll, the financial reporting service found a strong majority of Britons agreed with a statement that fact-checkers had previously tried to dismiss as false. When government figures, including the health secretary Matt Hancock praised Brexit as a factor in the UK getting vaccines approved faster than the European Union in December, several sites including Full Fact, Channel 4’s FactCheck, and the BBC’s Reality Check were unanimous in pointing out Brexit hadn’t given the UK new rights to forge its own way on medicines.

Despite the de jure situation explained at length by those sites, the de facto reality saw EU member states club together to get vaccines and Brexit Britain, free of pressure from Brussels to play a part and to make its own choices, do just that. Bloomberg, for their part, addressed this by acknowledging the points made by the fact-checkers, but stating, simply: “Had Britain remained in the bloc, it could still have chosen to go its own way –- but it would have been politically harder to justify than as a departing member state.”

So while the political mechanisms and changes of Brexit may not be credited, it seems both Bloomberg and the British people clearly recognise the spirit of Brexit —  a willingness to go it alone and take risks — is to thank for Britain pulling way out ahead of even the wealthiest and most developed European nations, caught within the suffocating red tape of the Brussels bureaucracy.

In all, 62 per cent of Britons said the country was doing better with vaccines rollouts because of Brexit, with 11 per cent saying things were worse. Even more, 67 per cent, said the EU was being hostile to the United Kingdom over vaccines, while just 13 per cent said they were acting in a friendly manner.

Bloomberg’s survey also tested attitudes towards the European Union itself, and found a profound change. While the UK had voted to leave the European Union 52-48 in 2016, a margin that has repeatedly said to have evaporated due to “Brexit regret” by British newspapers, Bloomberg found feelings had actually hardened, and respondents reported they would vote to leave now 54-46 per cent.

That Britain has been able to speed ahead of the European Union on vaccines, and even that Brexit is a factor, is something the European Union and pro-European Union media have been willing to admit. European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has called Brexit Britain a “speedboat” able to outmanoeuvre the European Union while Germany’s Die Welt said, “Brexit Boris laid the foundation for vaccination success.”

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