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VACCINES

EU will have vaccine doses for 70 percent of adults ‘by mid-July’

The EU will have enough Covid-19 vaccine doses to cover 70 percent of its adult population by mid-July due to higher production within the bloc, a senior official said on Tuesday.

EU will have vaccine doses for 70 percent of adults 'by mid-July'
This picture taken on February 22, 2021 shows the warehouse of the packaging line of the factory of US multinational pharmaceutical company Pfizer in Puurs. Kenzo Tribouillard / AFP

“Fifty-three factories are producing vaccines in the EU. Our continent is now the largest producer in the world after the United States,” internal markets commissioner Thierry Breton told French daily Le Figaro in an interview.

“I am now certain of how many doses are currently in production and I know how many millions will be delivered each week,” he said.

“This allows me to assure you that we will have by mid-July the number of doses necessary for vaccinating 70 percent of the European Union’s adult population,” he said, citing the threshold many health experts say is necessary to achieve “herd immunity.”

EU governments have faced fierce criticism over the bloc’s joint vaccine procurement efforts, which saw a slow start to its inoculation drive even as programmes raced ahead in Britain and the US.

Already half of American adults have had at least one dose, and as of Monday anyone over 18 can sign up for a shot.

In the EU, by contrast, just over 20 percent of adults have received at least one jab, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Breton insisted that Europe would catch up in the coming months, with production capacity “that will reach 200 million doses a month by this summer.”

But he poured cold water on the idea of using Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine anytime soon, after Germany opened discussions with Moscow this month without waiting for coordinated EU action.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is evaluating Sputnik’s safety and efficiency, but “it still lacks some essential data,” Breton said.

And even if approved, “we’ll have to find production capacity, because the Russians do not have large production sites and are looking for industrial partners in Europe which are already fully mobilised.”

“For all these reasons, I don’t think significant quantities of Sputnik will be available for Europe before the end of 2021,” he said.

Member comments

  1. Hi,

    I would like to warn you about the wrong istatistic in the article.
    According to Folkhälsomyndigheten webpage, Proportion (%) vaccinated with at least 1 dose is %23.1 as of the date of 20th of April (%20.4, 16th of April) but you are sharing the data from ourworldin which is not correct(it shows %16.51 for16th of April which is %5 less than the official number)

    Could you please contact ourworldin and ask them to correct the figures or please stop sharing their untrustable numbers. It’s not fair to compare countries with wrong numbers.

    Thanks

    Source:
    (https://www.folkhalsomyndigheten.se/smittskydd-beredskap/utbrott/aktuella-utbrott/covid-19/statistik-och-analyser/statistik-over-registrerade-vaccinationer-covid-19/)

    1. Hakan, OurWorldInData uses official data, coming exactly from Folkhälsomyndigheten (if you’re familiar with programming, you can check the source code here: https://github.com/owid/covid-19-data/blob/master/scripts/scripts/vaccinations/src/vax/batch/sweden.py).

      The difference you see is because the percentage shown on Folkhälsomyndigheten’s website is based on the adult population (18+), but OurWorldInData calculates it based on the whole population of the country. It does the same calculation for all countries, exactly the same way, all coming from official and verifiable sources.

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ASTRAZENECA

AstraZeneca vaccine ‘safe and effective’ against Covid-19, European Medicines Agency concludes

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) concluded on Thursday that the AstraZeneca vaccine was a "safe and effective" tool in the battle against Covid-19 but its investigation could not rule out whether the jab had caused rare cases of blood clotting.

AstraZeneca vaccine 'safe and effective' against Covid-19, European Medicines Agency concludes
Photo: Joe Giddens/AFP

The EMA’s Executive Director Emer Cooke said the agency’s expert committee came to “a clear and scientific conclusion”.

“This is a safe and effective vaccine whose benefits in protecting people from Covid-19 hugely outweigh the risks,” she said but added that further studies would take place to probe possible links between the injection and rare blood clotting cases.

While millions of doses of the vaccine developed with Oxford University have been administered, small numbers of people have developed blood clots, which prompted countries including the European Union’s three largest nations – Germany, France and Italy – to suspend injections pending the EMA investigation.

The EMA’s expert committee was convened at short notice to hold an emergency investigation into the cases of blood clotting.

Cooke said that the vaccine was not associated with an increased risk of thromboembolic events or blood clotting but did add that based on the available evidence “we still cannot rule out definitely a link between these cases and the vaccine.”

In the report on its website the EMA said: “The vaccine may be associated with very rare cases of blood clots associated with thrombocytopenia, i.e. low levels of blood platelets (elements in the blood that help it to clot) with or without bleeding, including rare cases of clots in the vessels draining blood from the brain (CVST).

“A causal link with the vaccine is not proven, but is possible and deserves further analysis.”

Cooke said the EMA was in favour of “raising awareness of the possible risks of the vaccine and making sure they are included in the product information.”

“If it was me I would want to be vaccinated tomorrow but if something happened to me after vaccination I would want to know what to do about it and that’s what we’re saying today,” said Cooke.

Chair of the EMA’s vaccine safety committee Dr Sabine Strauss said there was no higher risk of thromboembolic events happening after being vaccinated in fact the risks may be reduced.

The EMA will carry out further studies into the vaccine. Those EU countries who paused the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine will not have decide whether to continue the injections after the EMA’s conclusions.

‘We have found the cause’

Earlier on Thursday, a group of health experts at Oslo University Hospital concluded that the blood clots in three health workers who took the AstraZeneca vaccine were triggered by an immune system response.

Three health care workers under the age of 50 were admitted to hospital with severe blood clots after taking the vaccine. One of the three later died of a brain haemorrhage.

“We have found the cause. There is nothing but the vaccine that can explain the immune reaction that occurred,” Pål Andre Holme, professor and chief physician at Oslo University Hospital told newspaper VG.

Holme led a team that worked round the clock to find out why the health workers were admitted to hospital with blood clots after taking the vaccine.

Asked about whether the EMA had taken into account the conclusions of Oslo University the agency’s Dr Sabine Straus said committee had taken into account the cases in Norway but had not looked at the report from Norwegian health officials in Oslo.

The World Health Organization on Thursday renewed a call for countries to continue the use of AstraZeneca’s
Covid-19 vaccine, shortly before expected assessments by EU and UN agencies.

The WHO’s Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) — created in 1999 to address safety issues related to vaccines of potential global importance — is due to publish the conclusions of its assessment of the safety of AstraZeneca’s vaccine on Friday.

But as of now, “the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine far outweigh its risks and its use should continue, to save lives,” the WHO’s regional director for Europe Hans Kluge told a press conference.

“In vaccination campaigns, it is routine to signal potential adverse events. This does not necessarily mean that the events are linked to the vaccination,” Kluge said

AstraZeneca billed as vaccine of choice

In Britain, which has administered more than 11 million AstraZeneca doses, experts see no evidence of more frequent blood clots among the inoculated.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote in The Times newspaper that the shot “is safe and works extremely well”.

More than 382 million doses of Covid vaccines have been administered globally, the vast majority in wealthier countries while many poorer nations have yet to receive a single dose.

AstraZeneca’s shot, among the cheapest available, was billed as the vaccine of choice for poorer nations and the clot reports have had an impact beyond Europe.

Other countries that halted or delayed the rollout include Indonesia, Venezuela, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Cyprus, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Sweden.

The pandemic spurred unprecedented efforts to develop vaccines, with a number of successful options now available.

Rollouts have been hampered by export controls, bitter diplomatic disputes and production issues – in addition to the AstraZeneca suspension.

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