Vaccines: Europe is ‘so far behind UK’ says professor
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Pro-Brexit think tank Facts4EU said its new report explains why many countries are now seeking to bypass the European Commission – as well as disproving claims that Britain could have continued to pursue an independent vaccine policy had it not quit the bloc. And former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib said Facts4EU’s revelations left the bloc with “nowhere to hide”.
Using figures from Our World In Data and Johns Hopkins University, Facts4EU’s experts suggest the likelihood of dying from COVID-19, based on a seven-day rolling average, was 15 times higher within the EU27 than it was in the UK.
The report indicates citizens are:
- 38 times more likely to die in Poland
- 16 times more likely to die in Italy
- 13 times more likely to die in France
- 8 times more likely to die in Germany
- 5 times more likely to die in Spain
Facts4EU spokesman David Evans said: “What we have shown above are the official figures, as at Friday 23 April 2021.
“Many EU27 countries are now going their own way, bypassing the EU Commission.”
He added: “The days of ‘solidarity’ and ‘unity’ seem to be long gone.
“We can only hope that the independent action now being taken by individual governments of EU27 countries will prove successful.”
Mr Evans stressed: “Remainer-Rejoiners claim that if the United Kingdom had still been a member of the EU, it could still have pursued its own vaccination strategy.
“We would ask them one, simple question: if that’s true, why did all 27 EU countries follow the EU Commission’s disastrous programme?”
Mr Habib told Express.co.uk: “When the pandemic first hit, many were quick to identify the relative failings of our Government compared to those in Europe. But of one thing there is now no doubt.
“The UK has developed and administered a world beating vaccination programme.
“This is due to first class research facilities, pharma companies and good administrative oversight but all this would have been for nought if we had still been in the EU.
“We would have been hampered by the tardiness of the European Medical Agency and Ursula Von der Leyen’s insistence that their programme be handled centrally. That administration was utterly hopeless.”
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Mr Habib added: “The EU has flailed around seeking to blame varyingly the UK for its selfishness and AstraZeneca for not delivering doses to the EU ahead of its other commitments.
“Never did it bother with any reflective introspection to identify and fix its own failings. Such was its fear of the political fall-out of failure that it also sought to rubbish the vaccine itself.
“The relative likelihood of dying from the virus in Europe, uncovered by Fact4EU, leaves no room for the EU to hide.
“It must face the reality that when Europe most needed the EU to up its game, it failed – fatally.”
The Commission, headed up by president Ursula von der Leyen, has faced enormous criticism for the sluggish pace of its vaccine rollout.
Our World in Data figures indicate that as of Saturday, 28.73 vaccinations per 100 people had been administered within the bloc, significantly less than half that of the UK, where the figure is 67.14.
Nevertheless, speaking yesterday, European Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton insisted the European Union will be able to produce enough vaccines to achieve its target for immunity of its adult population by the middle of July.
The European Commission has set a target of inoculating 70 percent of the EU’s adult population by the end of this summer, banking on a big increase in vaccine deliveries to accelerate its vaccination drive.
Mr Breton told Greek weekly newspaper To Vima: “We are confident that we will be able to produce a sufficient number of vaccines to achieve the goal of collective immunity, which means that 70 percent of the adult population would have been vaccinated by mid-July.”
The Commission said earlier this week that it expects to seal the world’s biggest vaccine supply deal within days, securing up to 1.8 billion doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine between 2021-2023.
Mr Breton said that more than 400 million doses were expected to be delivered in the second quarter.
He added: “Member States need to be ready to speed up vaccinations.”
Mr Breton also said vaccine production in Europe was doubling every month in 53 production facilities and that by the end of the year, annual production capacity will reach three billion doses with more production lines available.
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