National leaders are beginning to feel the warmth over the EU’s struggling Covid vaccine rollout, which is increasingly being seen as overcautious, marred by mistakes and miscalculations, and achingly slow to progress.Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron felt the necessity to explicitly defend the bloc’s approach in the week , as vaccination numbers still lag behind those of nations like Israel, the united kingdom and US.
The German chancellor conceded on Tuesday night that it “rankled” that others were vaccinating faster, but said the EU’s slower but collective strategy had been the proper one. “All altogether , I don’t think anything has gone wrong,” Merkel said.
France’s president also said, in an unexpected TV appearance on Tuesday, that progress “may seem slow” compared with countries that had “made other bets”. But he added: “I defend the strategy we've adopted with Germany, with the EU.”
Both reiterated their pledge that a jab would be offered to all or any adults who wanted it by the top of the summer. EU member states have thus far collectively administered a minimum of one dose to only 3% of the population, against 59% in Israel, 15% within the UK and 10% within the US.
EU countries are at different stages in their struggle with the virus, with some, like Italy and Poland, lifting lockdown restrictions et al. , like Germany and therefore the Netherlands, retaining them, mainly over concerns about new variants.
France, meanwhile, hopes to avoid a 3rd national lockdown as case numbers remain stable but comparatively high, while Portugal has been hit by a devastating surge and on Wednesday accepted doctors, nurses, ventilators and hospital beds from Germany.
Nonetheless, criticism of the EU’s slow vaccine rollout has been building, not least in Germany where media and politicians jostling within the run-up to September elections have taken aim at Merkel and her ally the ecu commission president, Ursula von der Leyen.
Many EU countries, however, are that specialize in delivering two doses within the interval recommended by vaccine manufacturers and therefore the World Health Organization. By that measure, both Germany and Italy are outperforming the united kingdom .
Merkel, Macron and Von der Leyen have all stressed the importance of charitable trust within the vaccination process, highlighting among reasons for the EU’s slow progress its decision to not follow Britain in seeking emergency approval for Covid shots.
Germany, France, Poland, Italy and Sweden have all announced they're going to avoid giving the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine to over-65s, citing a scarcity of knowledge on its efficacy among that age bracket . Belgium has set the edge at 55.