Vaccine: Anna Maria Chiuri criticises EU’s ‘huge problem’
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The insider suggested the bloc would not be able to beat its target to deliver Covid jabs to 70 percent of all adults by September 21. It comes after new research suggested new supply deals and increased production could see the target reached a month early. The new study said the EU may vaccinate 75 percent of adults by the end of August.
But the diplomat warned: “I don’t think we’ll hit the target earlier than the Commission has previously said.”
The source, however, cast doubt on whether Commission Ursula von der Leyen’s target can be met because of a shortage of jabs across the bloc.
“I think the prognosis of the timetable is still achievable,” they said.
“But I’m not quite sure if we will really achieve it.”
Overall the EU has vaccinated about six percent of its population since it started rolling out Covid jabs late last year.
In contrast, Britain has delivered jabs to more than a quarter of all adults, with close to 19 million doses given out already.
Mrs von der Leyen has been forced to defend the bungled rollout of Covid jabs across the bloc.
She conceded that many European citizens are “frustrated” that they have not had access to vaccinations.
The UK secured a three-week head start over Brussels by moving quicker to authorise vaccines with Downing Street also opting to delay the second dose by 12 weeks in order to offer more people protection against Covid.
Mrs von der Leyen said the bloc had only fallen behind because of Britain’s “risky” strategy and it is now “catching up”.
She said: “We’re catching up. Britain has administered 17 million first doses. There are 27 million in the EU. In Italy, with a population similar to that of Great Britain, twice as many citizens received full vaccination protection with the second dose as in the UK.”
“I think it’s risky to simply postpone the second vaccination. We should adhere to the specifications that the manufacturers determined in their extensive clinical tests.”
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The German added: “Nobody has been vaccinated in 130 countries around the world. Europe is among the first, albeit with fewer doses in the start-up phase than expected.”
Mrs von der Leyen was also forced to defend the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine against numerous attacks by European politicians.
Paris and Berlin has claimed the jab was ineffective during a spat with UK-based drugs giant over delays in supply to EU capitals.
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The top eurocrat said she “would take the AstraZeneca vaccine without a second thought” after reports of people refusing to take the jab across several member states.
She added: “I would be vaccinated with the vaccine from AstraZeneca just as safely as with the products from BioNTech/Pfizer or Moderna.
“The vaccine has been carefully examined, found to be safe and effective, and approved.”
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