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Von der Leyen: EU 'Catching Up' With UK Covid Vaccination Rollout

Von der Leyen: EU 'Catching Up' With UK Covid Vaccination Rollout

The EU is “catching up” with the UK’s coronavirus vaccination programme, the European commission president has insisted as Hungary’s government started to administer a Chinese vaccine in the face of shortages.

 

A lack of doses among the EU member states continues to blight national plans, with Belgium the latest to warn of “serious delays” to its schedule, with vaccination of people over 65 postponed to the end of March.

 

There is also mounting evidence of the AstraZeneca vaccine being rejected and left unused in fridges following weeks of bad publicity, including Emmanuel Macron’s unsubstantiated claim that it is “quasi-ineffective” among older groups.

 

The latest figures suggest 27% of the UK population has received a first jab compared with 6% of the EU population. Ursula von der Leyen told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper in Germany that while she understood the frustration there were signs of improvement. “I understand very well the impatience that, now that the vaccine is available, citizens want to be vaccinated as quickly as possible and finally be protected,” she said. “We’re catching up. Britain has inoculated 17m first doses. There are 27m 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.”

 

The commission president added she would have no concerns about being vaccinated with the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab. “I would be vaccinated with the vaccine from AstraZeneca just as safely as with the products from BioNTech/Pfizer or Moderna,” she said. “When we started looking for the most promising out of the hundreds of candidates 10 months ago, we assumed an effectiveness of between 50 and 70%. Now everyone is on top of it. The vaccine has been carefully examined, found to be safe and effective, and approved.”

 

The EU’s deployment has struggled to gain traction in large part due to shortages in the first quarter of this year from suppliers including AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer.

 

Source: The Guardian

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