DPA, 10TH FEBRUARY, 2021- After weeks of criticism and delivery setbacks, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen acknowledged mistakes in the bloc’s Covid-19 vaccination strategy in the European Parliament on Wednesday.
“We were too late on the approvals,” the top EU official told lawmakers. “And perhaps we were too sure that what we ordered would actually arrive on time.”
The EU focussed too much on development and underestimated how difficult it would be to scale up production of the vital shots, the German politician conceded. “In a way, science surpassed industry.” With EU states lagging behind the front-runners in the race to inoculate their populations against Covid-19, the bloc’s executive arm has fended off accusations about the strategy it devised and grappled with pharmaceutical firms over delivery problems.
However, von der Leyen defended the bloc’s choice to opt for conditional market authorization rather than emergency approval for vaccines, as neighbouring Britain did. The latter, though speedier, confers liability for drugs from producing companies to governments.
The three to four weeks of extra time needed for the process was an essential investment to instil public confidence, according to the EU executive chief, even if it has now slowed Europe’s vaccine campaign down.