SUPPLY of vaccines to the UK will not be disrupted following the EU's attempts to block export of the jab.

The UK Government's trade secretary said tomorrow that she could "absolutely guarantee" the UK would be able to continue its programme of delivery of the coronavirus jag.

Liz Truss added that "vaccine nationalism" must be resisted and said that the only way to tackle the pandemic is on a global level.

It comes after the EU made a surprise announcement on Friday that it planned to trigger Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol to control the shipment of vaccine, which was widely condemned by politicians and health experts. 

The bloc was angered as it wanted supplies of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to be sent from the UK to make up for the shortage in the amount it was expecting. 

Urgent talks were scheduled, with the EU scrapping the plans to block vaccines going to Northern Ireland less than 24 hours later.

Ms Truss said the EU's new plans, which involve countries having to get authorisation before vaccines can be exported outside the EU, would have no impact on the UK's supply of jags. 

She said: "The Prime Minister (Boris Johnson) has spoken to Ursula von der Leyen. She has been very clear that those contractual supplies won’t be disrupted.

“That’s a very important assurance and, of course, we also have our UK-produced vaccines as well, and if you look at our vaccines pipeline, 367 million doses, we have a significant supply to be able to vaccinate the UK population.”

Asked if she could guarantee that everyone who has had the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine will get their second dose, Ms Truss added: “We can absolutely guarantee our programme of delivery of the vaccine.

“We have received assurances from the EU about the supply, under contract, of all of those vaccines.”

Ms Truss also did not rule out the possibility of some level of social distancing measures continuing until the end of the year, as some reports suggested. 

The EU's decision to invoke Article 16 has been widely condemned by politicians across the UK and within the EU.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair described the move as "unacceptable” and “very foolish” , arguing it undermined the Good Friday Agreement.

He said: “It was a very foolish thing to do and fortunately they withdrew it very quickly. 

"I was somebody who negotiated the Good Friday Agreement, it’s brought peace to the island of Ireland and it is absolutely vital that we protect it and that’s why what the European Commission did was unacceptable."

Irish Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that he had no knowledge of the EU's plans until they were announced on social media, but disagreed with Northern Ireland's First Minister Arlene Foster that the move was an "act of hostility". 

He called for calm over the vaccines, and said: "We were watching what’s happening in the UK and saying, ‘well done, you are vaccinating quickly and that’s important’.

“Overall, across Europe we all need to roll out the vaccination programme as effectively and efficiently as we can, so I would like if we can dial down the tone and work collegiately is the best way to deal with this

The resolution to the vaccine dispute comes as the Scottish Government is set to roll out the second phase of its jags plan, with new mass vaccination centres in Aberdeen and Edinburgh to open tomorrow.

The facilities, at the P&J Live centre and the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, will be able to inoculate an extra 27,000 people per week.

This adds to the NHS Louisa Jordan in Glasgow, which has been vaccinating between 1,000 and 5,000 per day since early December and has the capacity to go to 10,000 per day, according to the Scottish Government.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also announced last week they would publish deeper data on vaccinations being carried out in Scotland.

Earlier this month, a row broke out between Scottish ministers and Westminster, who claimed figures published were commercially sensitive, prompting their removal from the Scottish Government website.