EU humiliation: Morocco beats bloc on vaccines…despite rollout starting three weeks ago
EU vaccine rollout shortcomings addressed by von der Leyen
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The Generation Frexit leader humiliated the Brussels bloc as he blasted its failed efforts to ensure Europeans are swiftly receiving coronavirus vaccines. Posting on Twitter, Mr Gallois pointed out Morocco, which started its vaccination strategy three weeks ago, is already ahead of the EU.
He wrote: “Non-exhaustive list of countries that have vaccinated more than the EU Flag of European Union as a percentage of its population:
“Israel, United Arab Emirates, Seychelles, United Kingdom, Palau, Bahrain, United States, Chile, Serbia, Monaco, Maldives, Switzerland, Singapore, Norway, Iceland, Turkey, Morocco.
“Note, for example, Morocco, which started its vaccination campaign only three weeks ago and is already doing better.”
It comes as EU officials admitted Pfizer Inc has not yet delivered to the European Union about 10 million COVID-19 vaccine doses that were due in December, leaving it about one-third short of the supply it had expected from the US drugmaker.
The shortfall is another blow to the EU, which has also been hit by delays in vaccine deliveries from Britain-based AstraZeneca Plc and US biotech Moderna Inc.
It had also faced earlier delays with the shot from Pfizer.
The situation raises questions about the rationale of an EU vaccine export control scheme set up in late January to ensure timely deliveries that has not yet been activated, despite the supply shortfalls.
This week, Pfizer delivered to the EU 4.8 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine it developed with German partner BioNTech, according to an EU official who is directly involved in talks with the US company.
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That takes the total to about 28 million doses of the two-shot vaccine, one of the EU officials and a source familiar with the matter said.
That is still about 10 million doses less than Pfizer had promised to supply since the rollout began late last year, the EU official said.
A second EU official involved in talks with vaccine makers confirmed the shortfall but said the companies had committed to delivering those doses by the end of March.
Pfizer declined to comment, saying schedules of its deliveries were confidential. The executive European Commission did not respond to a request for comment on delivery shortfalls.
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EU officials have said Pfizer committed to delivering 3.5 million doses a week from the start of January. This week’s larger delivery suggests the company is increasing supplies to make up for an earlier shortfall.
About 5 million doses will be delivered next week and in the first week of March, one of the officials said.
In mid-January, there was a temporary hiccup in supplies.
EU officials said that was largely resolved last month.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was approved for use in the EU on December 21. The following day, BioNTech said the companies would ship 12.5 million doses to the EU by the end of the month.
Only a portion of those doses due in December was delivered, the EU officials said.
But the source familiar with the matter said that under the agreement with the EU, 12.5 million doses that BioNTech earmarked in December for the bloc were included in the delivery target for the first quarter of 2021.
It was not immediately clear how the difference in schedules came about, but it highlights the complexity of supply deals as governments around the world scramble to secure shots to curb the pandemic.
The EU has two contracts with Pfizer for the supply of 600 million vaccine doses.
Israel has inoculated more than 75 percent of its population, including first and second doses, figures from University of Oxford-based Our World in Data shows.
The UAE has administered vaccines to around 50 percent of its population and for Britain, it is above 20 percent. EU countries on average stand at about 5 percent.
Countries with a high number of inoculations are already vaccinating people not among the most vulnerable, while many of those most in need elsewhere have not received a shot.
The World Health Organisation has set the target of inoculating 20 percent of poor countries’ population by the end of the year.
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