Oct 9, 2019

U.K. rushes to stockpile flu shots amid threat of no-deal Brexit

Photo: Vladimir Gerdo\TASS via Getty Images

Distributing flu vaccines each annual season is a complex process, but the threat of a no-deal Brexit is only adding further complications, Bloomberg reports.

The big picture: The prospect of the U.K. leaving the European Union on Oct. 31 without a withdrawal agreement has brought on fears of food and medicine shortages. That could mean lacking vaccines, leaving the elderly and young especially susceptible to the flu and other illnesses.

  • British officials are booking space on planes to help prevent delays and have opened an office in Amsterdam geared towards addressing regulatory hurdles.
  • The total cost to prepare for the potential situation has reached £10 million, or roughly $12 million.
  • Flu season generally starts in the fall, and a no-deal Brexit would take effect on Halloween if a deal isn't struck and the EU doesn't offer an extension.

Of note: The U.K.'s Parliament has passed a law that would require Prime Minister Boris Johnson to seek an extension from the EU if he is unable to strike a Brexit deal. Johnson, however, has said that he would rather be "dead in a ditch" than delay Brexit, and his comments in recent weeks have some speculating that the government might try to exploit a loophole to leave on Oct. 31 in defiance of Parliament.

What to watch: Most of the U.K.'s vaccine shipments for this flu season are set to arrive by the end of the month.

Go deeper: Northern Ireland's Brexit balancing act

Go deeper

The wreckage of summer

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We usually think of Memorial Day as the start of the summer, with all of the fun and relaxation that goes with it — but this one is just going to remind us of all of the plans that have been ruined by the coronavirus.

Why it matters: If you thought it was stressful to be locked down during the spring, just wait until everyone realizes that all the traditional summer activities we've been looking forward to are largely off-limits this year.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,410,228 — Total deaths: 345,105 — Total recoveries — 2,169,005Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,643,499 — Total deaths: 97,722 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The CDC is warning of potentially "aggressive rodent behavior" amid a rise in reports of rat activity in several areas, as the animals search further for food while Americans stay home more during the coronavirus pandemic.

By the numbers: More than 97,700 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 366,700 Americans have recovered and more than 14.1 million tests have been conducted.