EU’s vaccine shambles as just 40% of jabs promised for poorer countries delivered

EU vaccine rollout praised by Ursula von der Leyen

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There are just two weeks to go to meet the target by the end of the year – but with the Omicron variant spreading across the world, wealthy nations are accelerating their vaccine efforts.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) fears this could slow things down even further. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the body is “concerned that such [booster] programs will repeat the vaccine hoarding we saw this year, and exacerbate inequity.”

As of December 14, around 166 million doses have been donated from the EU. Of these, 118 million doses have been donated through COVAX, a global partnership which helps with the purchase and delivery of vaccines.

However, of the total COVAX doses donated, around 40 percent have been delivered.

A further 48.2 million have also been given through bilateral agreements between donor and recipient countries.

POLITICO claims reasons for delays include a lack of detail on which vaccines would be donated or any conditions attached.

Jabs could also only be allocated after EU countries resolved lengthy negotiations with vaccine manufactures.

Their report includes data collected by UNICEF suggesting the EU had donated nearly 318 million doses of COVAX – as of December 14.

According to figures, 218 million doses have been ordered from manufacturers, 159 million released for shipment and 127 million in transit or arrived at their destination.

COVAX also faces issues with finding countries to accept the donations with about a third, or 100 million doses, not yet ordered. This process can take up to six weeks.

A COVAX official told Politico that, on occasion, countries “just don’t have the time to do the regulatory approval steps and everything that would be required in order to then accept those doses with the shelf life of those doses and use them.”

Supply issues are also affecting vaccine targets across Europe with reports revealing Germany is unlikely to reach its target of an extra 30 million doses by the end of the year.

Internal calculations by the German Ministry of Health show that 30 million doses are missing for booster vaccines and a further 30 million are needed to give first and second doses.

An estimated 18 million Germans will be impacted by the shortage.

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