Emmanuel Macron discusses the vaccine rollout in France
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Europe continues to come under fire for its slow vaccination programme, with even the World Health Organisation (WHO) branding the roll-out “unacceptably slow”. A new graph has highlighted just how far behind the bloc has fallen, when compared to the UK and the US.
The EU’s vaccination rate remains far behind the UK and other parts of the world, with just 13.4 percent of adults in the bloc having had at least one shot, according to Europe’s vaccine tracker.
This compares to the UK, which has vaccinated over 50 percent of British adults.
The US is also making strides, having vaccinated 38 percent of the adult population, according to Reuters calculations.
EU countries are scrambling to ramp up the pace of injections after the WHO criticised the bloc’s slow rollout.
The health body said the situation in the region is more worrying than it has been for several months, due to rising infection levels.
WHO’s director for Europe Hans Kluge pointed out new cases in Europe had surged from fewer than 1million a week to about 1.6 million a week.
He said: “Vaccines present our best way out of this pandemic.
“Not only do they work, they are highly effective in preventing infection.”
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But he said: “the rollout of these vaccines is unacceptably slow”.
Mr Kluge said the slow rollout was prolonging the pandemic in Europe.
He added: “We must speed up the process by ramping up manufacturing, reducing barriers to administering vaccines, and using every single vial we have in stock, now.”
The EU has fallen further and further behind with its vaccine rollout.
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It started with ordering the vaccines later than most other nations, six months behind the UK, and the EU was also slower at approving vaccines once they had been made.
Even once the jabs had been given the go-ahead, the EU27 were slow to vaccinate the population.
This has been partly due to infighting over vaccine exports and decisions to suspend administering the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.
Over half of EU states temporarily halted the jab, after reports of blood clots affecting patients.
The European Medicines Agency was quick to launch an investigation into the matter, and reassured the public the vaccine is “safe and effective”.
Several states have now sought to reassure the public the AstraZeneca shot is safe, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel urging politicians over 60 to show their faith in the shot.
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