Ursula von der Leyen: EU vaccine programme is ‘on track’
Experts from Facts4EU, a pro-Brexit think tank, have warned citizens in EU countries are 15 times more likely to die of Covid than people in the UK, based on a seven-day rolling average. Figures from Our World In Data and Johns Hopkins University also showed the top countries included Poland, where citizens were deemed 38 times more likely to die, along with people being 16 times more likely to die in Italy and 13 times more likely to die in France. Elsewhere in the EU, citizens were also eight times more likely to die in Germany and five times more likely to die in Spain.
It comes as EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has faced a huge amount of criticism over the slow pace of the bloc’s vaccine rollout in recent months.
: “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.
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“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.”
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.”
Last week, European Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said the bloc was still hoping to produce enough vaccines to achieve its target of inoculating 70 percent of the EU’s adult population by the end of July.
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 EU has also launched legal action against the Covid vaccine manufacturer AstraZeneca over claims it had not respected its vaccine supply contract.
The bloc also said the company did not have a “reliable” plan to ensure deliveries were on time following delays in production earlier this year.
However, AstraZeneca said the move was “without merit” and said it would “strongly defend itself in court”.