DW anchor Sarah Kelly listed off the failures of the European Union’s catastrophic handling of the vaccine rollout as she discussed “what has gone wrong” in Europe. The TV host for the German broadcaster interviewed Dr Siddhartha Sankar Datta, from WHO Europe, after WHO criticised the rollout of coronavirus vaccines in Europe as being “unacceptably slow”. Just ten percent of the European population has been given their first vaccination dose.
Ms Kelly pointed out the Brussels bloc had even missed its vaccination targets for March.
She said: “The World Health Organization has criticized the speed of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Europe, saying it’s, quote: ‘unacceptably slow’.
“The number of new cases across the region has increased for the sixth consecutive week, and just ten percent of the European population has been given their first vaccination dose.
“The warning from the WHO comes as the EU failed to meet its vaccination targets and distribution schedule by the end of March.”
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She added: “What has gone wrong with Europe’s vaccination programme?”
Speaking to Dr Datta, Ms Kelly said the WHO’s criticism of the EU was a “pretty strong statement”.
The WHO Europe scientist warned if “the rollout happens slowly, it prolongs the pandemic even further” amid fears over new Covid variants.
WHO director for Europe Hans Kluge said this week: “Vaccines present our best way out of this pandemic. However, the rollout of these vaccines is unacceptably slow.”
The EU was slow to negotiate a contract with vaccine manufacturer AstraZeneca which caused supply problems.
This week, a senior member of the European Commission, Thierry Breton, threatened to ship “zero” AstraZeneca jabs to the UK until the company had supplied more doses to Brussels.
Mr Breton said two major plants in the UK supply chain would not be allowed to export to the UK until the EU has had what it believes is its due, adding: “There is no negotiation.”
Drugs giant Pfizer has rebuked the EU’s new export controls, saying they were hampering its ability to deliver its vaccine to over 70 countries around the world.