A UK minister has announced that the government won’t publish vaccine-supply data, for “security reasons,” amid an ongoing row with the EU over delayed deliveries and in spite of Scotland’s plan to reveal its stock figures.

During an interview on the BBC, Prisons Minister Lucy Frazer was challenged over why the UK government is refusing to reveal how many vaccines it has, the reporter questioning if it was hiding something. 

Frazer claimed that “the government isn’t trying to hide something,” that it has been “incredibly transparent” and is only withholding the data for “security reasons.” However, when the reporter asked what the minister had meant by “security reasons,” Frazer was unable to answer, simply stating that this is the information she has received.

In a sign of the divide between the UK and Scottish governments, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that, in order to “have transparency,” her administration will be releasing detailed figures about supply levels in that country. The UK government has demanded that such information not be released by any devolved administration, but it doesn’t have the power to prevent Sturgeon from publishing it if she so chooses.

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The UK’s refusal to release data about its Covid-19 vaccine supplies comes as the EU and Britain remain in a standoff, after the bloc threatened to use all legal means to prevent drug companies from exporting vaccines to third countries before they had met delivery targets for European nations.

The EU has been facing criticism for its slow rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine, particularly in some of its members’ states, and has experienced production issues at some manufacturing plants across the continent. With drug companies warning there could be delays to their planned delivery schedule, the EU has sought to put pressure on these companies, demanding the publication of its contract with AstraZeneca to show the orders are “binding” and must be fulfilled on time.

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