European Union criticized for slow vaccine rollout as countries tighten restrictions once again

A nurse prepares a syringe of Covid-19 vaccine throughout a vaccination marketing campaign in a nursing home in Athens.


The European Union has been criticised for the velocity of its deployment of Covid vaccines, as its two greatest economies lengthen their coronavirus restrictions because of worrying case numbers.

Numerous European officers have voiced their considerations in regards to the bloc’s vaccination plans over the previous couple of days and have requested the European Commission, the manager arm of the EU, to clarify why it has not purchased extra jabs.

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, there have been greater than 17 million reported instances of the coronavirus within the area (together with the U.Ok.) so far.

“It is difficult to explain that a very good vaccine is developed in Germany but is vaccinated more quickly elsewhere,” Markus Söder, the chief of the German area of Bavaria, mentioned in an interview over the weekend, in keeping with Politico. German firm BioNTech has, along with Pfizer, developed one of many frontrunner Covid vaccines.

The European Union started its vaccination program in late December, after the approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab. Despite being developed in Germany, nonetheless, the jab acquired approval within the U.Ok. and the United States nicely earlier than it was greenlit by the European authorities.

Uğur Şahin, chief government of BioNTech, additionally advised the German press over the weekend that “the process in Europe certainly wasn’t as fast and straightforward as in other countries.”

The U.Ok. has, within the meantime, authorized two different vaccines, however the European Medicines Agency has not but dominated on both AstraZeneca or Moderna’s choices.

In addition to considerations over timings, there are additionally questions on whether or not sufficient vaccines have been bought by the EU.

“The (European) Commission must rise to the occasion. To this end, how will the EU make up for the lack of purchased dosses in the Union?” Luis Garicano, a European lawmaker, wrote in a letter to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen over the weekend.

The European Commission has signed six contracts with vaccine-makers on behalf of European countries. Each EU nation will obtain the vaccines on the identical time and distribution will likely be on a per-capita foundation.

Among these contracts, the EU agreed to purchase 200 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine with the choice to buy 100 million extra doses. The Commission additionally agreed to purchase 300 million vaccine doses from AstraZeneca, with the choice to purchase 100 million extra. Its contract with Moderna agrees to a purchase order of 80 million doses, plus an possibility to purchase as much as 80 million extra.

There are greater than 447 million residents residing within the 27 EU countries, in keeping with the area’s statistical workplace. 

“Israel, a nation with just 1/50th of population of the EU, has vaccinated more of its citizens than all EU member states combined. Madame President, how is that possible?” Garicano requested in his letter to von der Leyen.

A spokesperson for the European Commission mentioned on Monday that the establishment was “very much focused on ensuring that the implementation of our strategy is done, is done well.”

“The commission has very, very early on understood that both the acquisition of vaccines and the vaccination process would be major endeavours for the European Union,” the spokesperson advised reporters just about.

France, one of the vaccine-sceptical nations within the EU, introduced final week that it was stepping up its vaccination course of. The nation can be revising curfew hours within the worst-hit areas in an effort to include the unfold of the virus.

Meanwhile, Germany, the place a nationwide lockdown has been in place since late November, is because of lengthen this emergency measure till the top of the month.

Visitors queue exterior a Covid-19 vaccination web site at Berlin Arena in Berlin, Germany.

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