Coronavirus symptoms: Professor says range should be expanded
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Commenting on the EU’s issues with the vaccine strategy, the former President of the Commission claimed the threat to invoke Article 16 was also the wrong decision by his successor. Despite the EU’s coronavirus vaccine strategy being in chaos, the former Commission President claimed the bloc had chosen the correct strategy. In an interview with Swiss publication, Watson, he said: “When in Europe if something goes wrong, the member states always immediately blame the EU Commission.
“I know that from my own experience. It was right to organize the vaccine procurement together.
“If everyone had negotiated individually with the pharmaceutical companies, smaller EU countries would not have had access to the vaccine.
“There is no question that mistakes have been made.
“Or the handling of the Northern Ireland question in the export controls, which fortunately was corrected within hours.
“I am not ready to start singing against Ursula von der Leyen now.”
While the UK has now vaccinated over 15 million people with a first dose of the drug, the EU has come under severe pressure for struggling to roll out its strategy.
Not only have member states struggled to vaccinate their populations but even MEPs are now turning on the bloc over the fiasco.
Well-known and outspoken Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt claimed the Commission President has so far failed the bloc.
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In a video commenting on the lack of vaccine supplies, he said: “If you believe in Europe, if you love Europe, it’s your duty to be the most vocal critic, especially when Europe falls short of its potential and our expectations.
“That’s exactly what’s happening now with the vaccinations. It’s a fiasco.”
Not only did the EU agreed deals late with pharmaceutical companies but it has also been hit by vaccine supplies issues.
In January, AstraZeneca confirmed a 60 percent cut in vaccine supplies to the EU due to issues at its factories in Belgium.
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Such is the dire state of the strategy in the EU, Ms von der Leyen claimed the 27-nation bloc had made mistakes in procuring vaccines.
She said: “And yet it is a fact that we are not today where we want to be in the fight against the virus.
“We were late with the approval.
“We were too optimistic on mass production.
“And perhaps we were also too certain that the orders would actually be delivered on time.”
The EU hopes to have vaccinated 70 percent of the entire population of the bloc by the end of the summer.
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.
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