Europe despairs of a vaccination program that will take longer than desired

After a hard year of pandemic and confinements, Europe awaited the vaccination process like May water. However, the reduction in supply has forced the calendar of the inoculation programs in the Old Continent to undergo modifications.

We have far fewer vaccines than we expected, so this also means that all the phases that we had anticipated, such as starting vaccinating professionals in the health sector and people in nursing homes, is taking much longer than expected. This means, therefore, that vaccinating other categories of the population such as those over 65 or people at risk, is also postponed, “says Igne Neven, spokesman for the Brussels regional government.

After a very tense week due to the dispute between the EC and AstraZeneca, another of the pharmaceutical companies, Pfizer has announced that it will deliver an additional 75 million doses in the second quarter. But the pressure and criticism of the direction of Ursula Von Der Leyen do not diminish.

“We believe that since the pandemic began, we are on the right track to ensure that there is a European response as cohesive and effective as possible, which is what this Commission has been working on at full speed,” says Eric Mamer, Chief Spokesperson for the European Comission.

The President of the European Commission met this weekend with the heads of big pharmaceuticals in a frantic attempt to solve short-term supply problems. And while AstraZeneca has confirmed an additional 9 million doses, it still falls short of what it originally promised. Some MEPs call on the Commission to do more.

“The Commission was right to question AstraZeneca, but its point of weakness was in the contractual agreements, in the fact that they were not public, that there was no transparency around how they were negotiated and that there are very few sanctions against companies that do not fulfill their obligations under the contracts that were signed. But you know, we continue to pressure the Commission and we also need the Commission to stand firm with the companies that have signed these contractual agreements, “says Billy Kelleher, Irish MEP from the Renew Europe political group.

Europeans will have to face that the goal of vaccinating 70% of the adult population by summer may not be as achievable. Information on people vaccinated country by country can be found at the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.