EU’s bungled vaccine scheme leaves bloc lagging behind UK’s economic recovery – report

Matt Hancock gives update on EU vaccine row

Analysts said the bloc’s poor performance would also leave it lagging behind Britain’s economic recovery because of prolonged lockdowns. Bloomberg Economics calculated measures by EU governments to curb the spread of the virus meant the bloc’s economy was only operating at 95 percent of their pre-pandemic levels. Experts said the EU’s failure to successfully roll out its vaccine scheme could mean member states may have to maintain lockdowns for much longer than other countries.

They said a delay of one or two months would cost the bloc’s economy between £44-£88billion.

Jamie Rush, chief European economist at Bloomberg Economics, said: “The UK’s early progress means we expect a vigorous economic recovery to take root sooner than in mainland Europe.

“The higher transmissibility of the new COVID-19 strains is prompting tougher containment measures in much of Europe, raising the cost of vaccine delays.”

Brussels has said it aims to vaccinate 70 percent of the adult population by the end of September, to allow governments to safely lift their lockdown measures.

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In contrast, internal Government projects show all adults in the UK are on track to receive both doses of a coronavirus jab by the end of summer.

A report by German finance giant Allianz says EU countries are now five weeks behind the bloc’s vaccine target.

Its economists concluded European capitals will have to roll-out Covid jabs six-times faster than their current pace to catch up.

And if Brussels fails to get its vaccine scheme back on track it would set back the bloc’s economy around £79 billion.

Britain has administered more than 10 million jabs to date – that’s almost 15 doses per 100 people. 

In contrast France is lagging way behind, rolling out just 1.6 million vaccines at a rate of only 2.47.  

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That is behind even the EU as a whole, which has delivered 13.3 million jabs to three people in every hundred.

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen has accused Britain of cutting corners over vaccines.

The European Commission President said the UK had only got a head start over the EU after compromising on “safety and efficacy” tests.

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She said leaving it late “was the right decision”, adding: “It’s a gigantic responsibility.”

Britain secured a three-week head start over Brussels by taking responsibility for any future liabilities for vaccines.

Downing Street said the jabs were safe.

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