Europe’s Gang That Couldn’t Shot Straight

It’s hard to think of a recent fiasco that can match the European Union’s Covid vaccine rollout. Protectionism, mercantilism, bureaucratic ineptitude, lack of political accountability, crippling safety-ism—it’s all here. The Keystone Kops in Brussels and European capitals would be funny if the consequences weren’t so serious.

But hospitalizations and deaths are rising again in Italy, Germany and France while successful vaccinations suppress illness and fatalities in the U.S., United Kingdom and Israel. To date the U.S. has administered 34 doses per 100 residents, the U.K. has jabbed 40, and Israel has 111. Most vaccines require two doses. Compare that to about 12 in France, Germany and Italy.

As the pandemic moves into its reopening phase, Europe’s mistakes will cost the rest of the world economically as the Continent struggles to exit lockdowns.


Take the latest fumble first. Various European regulators and politicians spent this week claiming the Oxford/ AstraZeneca vaccine—the only one currently widely available in the EU—might be unsafe, only to rethink and now beg people to start accepting it.

This time the concern was that the jab caused blood clotting or problems with blood platelets in some patients. Some people who received the vaccine developed blood clots, but the European Medicines Agency (EMA) found the vaccine was not associated with an increase in the overall risk.

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