EU leaders want to speed up the rollout after a slow start

A man wearing a face mask on Thursday, February 25, 2021 in Dublin, Ireland.

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LONDON – The European Union needs to step up its efforts to vaccinate people against coronavirus, 27 presidents said on Thursday, as the region continues to struggle with a coalition rollout.

The EU has faced production, delivery and red tape issues in the deployment of covid vaccines and has therefore struggled to meet the pace of inoculation elsewhere.

The European Commission said on Thursday it expects about 100 million doses to be delivered to the region by the end of the first quarter. It is then expected to jump to about 500 million doses given by the end of June.

“We urgently need to accelerate the validation, production and distribution of vaccines,” EU leaders said in a joint statement.

They are particularly concerned about new covid variants, which are thought to be more contagious and have already been identified in European countries. A quick vaccination process will help protect the population of the region before the virus is significantly transmitted.

We observe stable and declining (infection) trends in 20 countries, but trends are rising in about 7 others.

Ursula von der Leyen

President of the European Commission

To this end, the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, is working with pharmaceutical companies to ensure that the delivery process is not hampered further and is considering acquiring more manufacturing plants in the continent.

“Currently, industrial sites in Europe contribute to the production of vaccines, but many people can join in the effort. Therefore, we encourage cooperation among industrial actors,” said Ursula von der Leyen, president of the commission, who was a physician at a press conference. Said.

It is sticking to its initial goal of having at least 70% of the adult population in the European Union by the end of the summer.

Although the coronavirus health crisis remains in Europe, many countries have seen an increase in cases in recent days.

A police officer is vaccinated against Covid-19 with AstraZeneca.

Pablo Blazequiz Dominguez | Getty Images News | Getty Images

On Thursday, French Prime Minister Jean Castex said the government was considering a weekend lockdown in Paris and other parts of France. In Germany, meanwhile, Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that there could be a third wave of infection if current sanctions are lifted very soon.

“We observe steady and declining (infection) trends in 20 countries, but trends are rising in about 7 others,” von der Leyen said.

“At the same time, our citizens are seeing increasing fatigue from Covid-19,” she noted, after nearly a year of strict social restrictions on the entire block.

Control measures, such as preventing unnecessary travel, are an additional challenge for the EU, given its policy of movement for goods, people and services.

Representatives of major pharma companies involved in the production of the covid vaccine told European legislators on Thursday that they were working around the clock to develop and produce shots.

The CEO of Cuervec suggested that his vaccine could be approved in June. Meanwhile, the European Medicines Agency is studying the data of tests conducted by Johnson and Johnson and may approve the market in a few weeks. To date, European regulators have approved the pockets of AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer.