WHO boss: European vaccine roll-out has been “unacceptably slow”

The European Union’s flailing vaccine roll-out programme has been blasted by the World Health Organization in a fresh embarrassment for the bungling bloc.

“Vaccines present our best way out of this pandemic. Not only do they work, they are also highly effective in preventing infection. However, the rollout of these vaccines is unacceptably slow” said European director Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, as part of an organisational statement accusing the EU’s mishandling of the scheme of “prolonging [the] pandemic”.

Regional Emergency Director Dr Dorit Nitzan of the WHO’s Europe office said the situation in Europe – with cases spiralling out of control in several major countries – is “more worrying than we have seen in several months.”

“Only 5 weeks ago, the weekly number of new cases in Europe had dipped to under 1 million, but now the Region’s situation is more worrying than we have seen in several months” he said.

Meanwhile Dr Kluge called on Europe to get back on track and “speed up the process by ramping up manufacturing, reducing barriers to administering vaccines, and using every single vial we have in stock, now”.

His comment about the use of jabs echoes criticisms made last month by top British vaccines boffin Professor Jonathan Van-Tam amid a knee-jerk suspension of Britain’s Oxford/AstraZeneca jab.

“Vaccines don’t save lives if they’re in fridges, they only save lives if they’re in arms” he said as the EU hoarded vaccines, mulled over export bans, but failed to deliver them to patients in a timely manner.

This site also reported earlier today that a key figure at Pfizer had accused the bloc of adding “significant administrative burdens” to the vaccine effort, adding: “what we would like our colleagues to do is to focus on making and distributing the vaccine”.

The UK has currently delivered more than three times as many doses per 100 people compared to the European Union, according to the latest comparable figures from data crunchers at OurWorldInData.