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EU Commission under pressure as Germany, France consider next steps for vaccine procurement

© Guillaume Périgois

The fallout from the European Union’s slow vaccine response continues as France and Germany explore new options to speed up the rollout.

Following a turbulent few days for the EU Commission after imposing, then quickly withdrawing article 16 to control vaccine exports across the bloc and into Northern Ireland, leaders are looking for new options.

With Germany having vaccinated just 1.85 million of its citizens vs 9 million for Britain as of Monday, there’s been a growing dissatisfaction in the European Union about how the vaccine procurement process has been.

To make matters more difficult, a potential increase in transmissibility with varied strains of Covid-19 could quickly escalate the number of cases.

It has been reported that Germany and Austria will assist Portugal with military and medical assistance as the country’s hospital system edges on the brink of collapse.

And following a number of setbacks including a drop in supply from AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer, there’s a growing urgency for EU members to procure supplies individually, and to placate increasing civil unrest – evident in Holland just in the last few days.

While Britain races ahead, there’s growing pressure on the EU to deliver a speeded up vaccine drive before more damage is done to its credibility.

With the economic toll of the pandemic on economies, national governments are being urged to do whatever it takes to get more supply to their citizens – even if that means procuring supplies directly and outside of the EU’s procurement process.