Posted by News Express | 10 February 2021 | 529 times
The EU was late to authorise Covid-19 vaccines and "still not where we want to be", European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said.
She also acknowledged the EU had been overconfident about production targets being met amid delays at factories.
The Commission chief has come under fire for the EU's slow vaccine rollout.
There is anger that the bloc has fallen behind countries like the UK, where more than 12 million people have already received the jab.
But Mrs von der Leyen was adamant that ordering vaccines collectively on behalf of member states was "the right thing to do".
Meanwhile pharmaceutical group AstraZeneca has said it will join forces with German company IDT Biologika to produce more vaccines for Europe.
Producers of vaccines including the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech jabs have postponed delivery of some of the EU's order because of capacity and supply issues.
What did the Commission president say?
"We were late to authorise. We were too optimistic when it came to massive production," the Commission president told the European Parliament, "and perhaps too confident that what we ordered would actually be delivered on time." She also noted that questions would have to be answered about what went wrong.
However, Mrs von der Leyen maintained that a joint EU response had been the correct decision in dealing with the pandemic: "I can't even imagine if a few big players had rushed to it and the others went empty-handed.
"In economic terms it would have been nonsense and it would have been I think the end of our community."
She also defended the time taken to approve vaccines, which she described as "an essential investment to establish confidence and security".
The Commission president said she "deeply" regretted a threat made by the EU last month to restrict the flow of vaccines passing between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
"But in the end we got it right and I can reassure you that my Commission will do its utmost to protect the peace in Northern Ireland." (BBC)
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