This Morning: Simon Calder discusses summer holidays
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European countries may not be able to administer enough jabs across their populations to qualify for the UK’s green status under the traffic light travel system. Analysts pointed to bloc’s huge reliance on the one-shot Johnson & Johnson jab to make up for lost time in its snail-paced rollout. But deliveries of the US vaccination have been paused over fears it can cause blood clots.
New research by data firm Airfinity showed the EU wasn’t expected to achieve herd immunity through vaccinations until December 8.
Brussels had announced plans to have 70 percent of its adult population vaccinated by the end of summer – September 21.
Airfinity said: “If the EU can’t use the J&J vaccine indefinitely it could push the timeline for vaccinating 75 percent of the population back into December.”
The American firm halted deliveries of its jab to Europe after reports that it caused blood clots in people that had received it in the US.
Experts at EU health regulator the EMA are investigating the incidents and are expected to issue a recommendation on the jab’s use next week.
Brussels was expecting 55 million doses of the J&J vaccine to be delivered to member states this quarter.
Any hold-ups to the bloc’s vaccination drive could see its countries left off of Britain’s green list when international travel is allowed to resume on May 17.
Malta and Portugal were expected to be the first EU states included on the list when the holiday ban is dropped next month.
Destinations will be classified on a number of criteria, with vaccination rates a key consideration.
Under the UK’s new travel rules tourists returning from green countries will be exempted from quarantine.
But yesterday European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen insisted the bloc’s jabs rollout is going well, having finally administered more than 100 million doses.
In a bold move, the top eurocrat announced a decision to ditch the Oxford vaccine in future in favour of the “proven” Pfizer jab.
And Denmark became the first European country to permanently suspend use of the AstraZeneca immunisation.
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The EU’s snail-paced vaccines programme has shown signs of bursting into life after initial hold-ups due to production and supply issues.
Mrs von der Leyen claimed Pfizer will “speed up” production to deliver an extra 50 million doses to EU nations before the end of June.
She also said the firm would be used for boost programmes in the coming years, announcing plans to ditch the use of the AstraZeneca shot.
It comes after the UK and a host of EU nations restricted the use of the Oxford vaccine in younger people because of a potential link to rare blood clots.
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The J&J and Russian-made Sputnik V, being used in Hungary and considered by other EU capitals, use the same traditional viral vector technology.
Mrs von der Leyen insisted she would look to jabs made with the mRNA method, like Pfizer and Moderna, in future.
She said: “To prepare for the future, we are drawing the lessons from the first phase of our answer to the pandemic.
“At a certain point in time, we might need booster jabs to reinforce and prolong immunity.
“And if escape-variants occur, we will need to develop vaccines that are adapted to new variants.
“Having this in mind we need to focus on technologies that have proven their worth, mRNA vaccines are a clear case in point.”
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