The European Union’s economy and vaccination effort have been mired for months while the U.S. and U.K. race ahead toward recovery from the pandemic. But the EU’s fortunes could change by midyear—provided that mishaps stop hampering its vaccine supply.
Amid rising social and political pressure, and despite setbacks, including new safety fears over the vaccine made by AstraZeneca PLC, European policy makers and analysts are expressing cautious optimism that the summer could bring a turning point, when vaccine makers say production will accelerate sufficiently to reopen the economy before fall.
The hoped-for vaccination breakthrough that experts estimate could see over 50% of the EU’s adult population inoculated by late July will depend on the seamless supply of shots from multiple manufacturers, as well as overcoming the logistical and administrative challenges that have so far plagued the rollout. The EU’s vaccine problems in recent months have ranged from bureaucracy and the public’s hesitancy to key suppliers slashing deliveries due to manufacturing issues.
The EU expects to receive 360 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines in the second quarter, a sharp improvement on the 107 million doses it received in the first quarter. The rising supply is coming mainly from the vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE , which is becoming the mainstay of the EU’s inoculation campaign. Nearly 68 million doses of the vaccine were delivered in the first quarter and 200 million are expected in the second quarter.
“The capacity is rapidly increasing,” Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner overseeing the EU’s vaccine strategy, said in a social-media post on Thursday. Vaccine production in Europe is more than doubling every month, he said, offering hope for an end to lockdowns. “I’m afraid we’re nowhere near ‘normal’ yet, but I am confident that we will find some normality soon.”
The Insidexpress is now on Telegram and Google News. Join us on Telegram and Google News, and stay updated.