EU Covid vaccine delay ‘will cost 15,000 lives’, economist warns as millions have to wait at least another week for jab
- Millions of Europeans will have to wait at least another week before vaccination
- EU determined vaccination programmes begin simultaneously in member states
- Germany has been pressing to begin inoculations as its infection rate spirals
Millions of Europeans will have to wait at least another week before vaccination programmes against Covid-19 in their countries get under way.
Regulators at the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will meet tomorrow to decide whether to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech jab, which was developed in the German city of Mainz.
If they give it the go-ahead, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said that vaccinations will begin across the continent next Sunday.
Regulators at the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will meet tomorrow to decide whether to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech jab (pictured, file image), which was developed in the German city of Mainz
But the EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use has said it will delay a decision if its members aren’t satisfied that the vaccine’s ‘quality, safety and efficacy are sufficiently robust and complete’.
While the EU is determined that vaccination programmes will begin simultaneously in all member states, Germany has been pressing to begin inoculations as its infection rate spirals.
Economist Professor Paul Welfens, of Wuppertal University, has estimated that the ‘nonsense’ preventing the rollout of the vaccine ‘will cost around 15,000 lives’.
President Ursula von der Leyen has said that vaccinations will begin across the continent next Sunday
He has called for the current distribution plans to be scrapped and for a ‘turbo plan’ to be introduced where the whole population could be vaccinated in 90 days. Germany’s best-selling tabloid newspaper, Der Bild, published a damning editorial last week, castigating the delays in approval.
‘It’s just beyond belief,’ it said. ‘The world is celebrating the BioNTech vaccine developed in Germany.
‘Yet Britain, the US and Canada have started vaccinating while we are standing and gawping.’
Britain began vaccinations on December 8, with the US and Canada following six days later.
Eurosceptic MEPs have cited the delays as proof that Britain was right to leave the European Union in January.
Former Brexit Party MEP Michael Heaver said: ‘Germans waiting for a vaccine that was developed by two German scientists because it hasn’t had EU approval yet. Bonkers.’
Vaccine man hit by lightning
A pensioner was struck by lightning just days after receiving the Moderna Covid vaccine as part of a trial.
The 72-year-old American was hit in a freak accident and doctors later diagnosed the victim with arrhythmia – an irregular heartbeat – as a result of the strike.
The news emerged as one of three so-called serious adverse effects suffered by participants in the trial. Analysis by the US Food and Drug Administration shows participants in the Moderna trial were no longer infected with the virus ten to 12 days after receiving the jab.