The EU could vaccinate 700 million people with large supplies of vaccines due to begin in April, said Commission President Ursula von der Leyen today as she set out the “best-case scenario” for the bloc.
This estimate would cover “more than is necessary” for the EU, and would include the bloc’s donation of vaccines to poorer countries. There are currently only around 446 million people living in the EU.
Speaking at the announcement of additional measures by the EU to control the virus, von der Leyen said that “big supplies are due to start in April” under the best-case scenario.
If all the vaccine candidates with which the EU has advance purchase deals are successful, there will be 1.2 billion doses in 2021. However, she admitted that “not all candidates will be a success”.
Von der Leyen also reiterated her message from October 15, when the Commission called for the harmonization of countries’ vaccination plans. “There are many issues to be considered for an effective vaccine deployment,” she said, pointing to questions around infrastructure, such as cold chains.
Despite her optimistic messages about vaccination in Europe, she cautioned the vaccine is “not the miraculous event that changes all from one day to the next.”
Her coronavirus adviser Peter Piot described vaccines as the “light at the end of the tunnel,” and said he hopes there’s more clarity by year-end on how effective some of these vaccines will be.
However, he said, big questions remain around how long immunity will last. “One year, five years, lifelong? We don’t know,” he said.
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