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EU defends the vaccine roll-out speed
Just yesterday, the European Commission said that its COVID-19 vaccine strategy will get the EU past bumps in the road, which have slowed the roll-out of vaccinations across the bloc.The Medical Association of Malta (MAM) said it was disappointed by the ‘very low targets’ for the local vaccination rollout.
“It’s obvious that such a complex endeavor is always going to bring with it difficulties,” said spokesman Eric Mamer.
To give you a better idea, around 1,400 people were vaccinated against COVID-19 by Sunday in Malta, as authorities claim that their target is to reach herd immunity by early summer 2021.
Other EU countries also began vaccinations by 27 December with the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine, but progress has indeed been much slower than in the US, Britain and Israel, just to name a few. Currently, the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine is the only vaccine authorised for use in the European Union, whereas the US are using it, alongside Moderna’s vaccine. The UK is also using AstraZeneca’s vaccine.
While the US, Britain and Israel have each already given the jab to over a million of their citizens, EU countries seem to be lagging behind. For instance, Germany has started immunising just 200,000 and France, just over 500.
That being said, the European Commission emphasised that it had bought access to almost ‘two billion doses’ of six potential vaccines, which equates to four times the population of the entire EU.
The European Medicines Agency has not said, however, how many of the other vaccines are safe and effective enough to be used, though it has said it could decide on the Moderna vaccine later this week.
Commission spokesman Stefan De Keersmaecker said that the Commission is currently negotiating to get more doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine, over and above the 300 million that it has secured. He also noted that “one of the bottlenecks that we are all experiencing now is the production capacity.”
Keersmaecker also noted that the Commission is not responsible for each EU member state’s roll-out and said that it is up to the member states to decide whether or not they want to buy a specific vaccine and many of doses.
“I don’t think that the issue is really the number of vaccines, it is the fact that we are at the beginning of a roll-out,” he concluded.
What are your thoughts on the vaccine roll-out and its speed?