EU rejects criticism for slow vaccine rollout across bloc

The European Commission defends its coronavirus vaccination strategy amid growing criticism in member states about the slow rollout of COVID-19 shots across the region of 450 million inhabitants.

Vaccination programs in the 27 nation-bloc have gotten off to a slow start and some EU members have been quick to blame the EU’s executive arm for a perceived failure of delivering the right amount of doses. In Finland, health authorities are reportedly unhappy that the country only received about 40,000 doses in December, instead of the 300,000 that were expected.

Facing a barrage of questions on vaccines during a news conference, EU Commission spokesman Eric Mamer says the main problem with the deployment of vaccination programs “is an issue of production capacity, an issue that everybody is facing.”

A nurse receives the Pfizer-Biontech coronavirus vaccine at the Helsinki University Hospital in Helsinki, Finland on December 27, 2020 (Alessandro RAMPAZZO / AFP)

“We have actually signed contracts that would allow member states to get access to 2 billion doses, largely enough to vaccinate the whole of the EU population,” he said.

— AP