Home » World News » Thank God we left! EU vaccine delay sparks furious Brussels backlash – ‘Too bureaucratic!’
Thank God we left! EU vaccine delay sparks furious Brussels backlash – ‘Too bureaucratic!’
January 4, 2021
Macron and France 'are failing' on vaccine rollout says Moutet
Meanwhile, France’s President Emmanuel Macron is understood to be deeply unhappy at the pace of the rollout – while a Finnish civil servant likewise accused the bloc of being slow off the mark. The EU has ordered 300 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab, having approved it for use just before Christmas, several weeks after the UK did so.
However, while the companies have committed to supplying the US with 200 million doses by the end of July of this year, the EU’s first 200 million are only expected by September, with no guarantee that the order will arrive in full until the end of 2021.
Christian Social Union (CSU) leader Mr Soder, seen by many as the man most likely to replace Angela Merkel when she steps down this year, told Bild am Sonntag: “Obviously, the European purchasing procedure was inadequate.
“It is difficult to explain that a very good vaccine is developed in Germany but is vaccinated more quickly elsewhere.
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“The European Commission has probably planned too bureaucratically: too few of the right ones have been ordered and price debates have gone on for too long.”
Mr Soder also suggested the UK, which severed ties with Brussels at the end of last year, was poised to pull ahead given its head start when it came to inoculations.
He explained: “The time factor is crucial. If Israel, the US or the UK are far ahead of us in vaccination, they will also benefit economically.
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“The question of how we get through corona economically is closely related to how quickly we get through with vaccination.”
Mr Macron has privately voiced his belief that the continent-wide vaccination programme was going at the pace of a “family stroll”, Le Journal du Dimanche reported.
Kirsi Varhila, the permanent secretary at Finland’s Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, said her country had only received roughly 40,000 doses in December – even though 300,000 were expected.
She told state broadcaster YLE: “What was promised to the EU did not come, and the vaccines have gone elsewhere instead.
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“It seems that the US is a quicker buyer than Europe.”
Biontech CEO Ugur Sahin has also voiced his dissatisfaction in an interview with Der Spiegel.
He said: “At the moment things are not looking rosy, there is a hole because there are no other approved vaccines and we have to fill this gap with our vaccine.
“That is also the reason why we are now working with Pfizer on whether and how we can produce even more.”
The process in Europe had not been “as quick and straightforward as it was in other countries”, Mr Sahin claimed.
He added: “There was an assumption that many other companies would come with vaccines.
“Apparently the impression prevailed: We’ll get enough, it won’t be that bad, and we have it under control. I was amazed.”
German Health Minister Jens Spahn pointed to production lags, adding: “We ordered enough.”
EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides denied the EU was in any way at fault, insisting: “The bottleneck at the moment is not the volume of orders but the worldwide shortage of production capacity.”
On Sunday European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas tweeted that “the EU’s vaccination procurement is a success”.
He added: “Germany’s contribution was therefore enormously important. The EU is grateful.
“Germany will also only come out of this crisis quickly if all of Europe can be vaccinated. Stronger together!”