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Macron says EU failed to ‘shoot for the stars’ over vaccine rollouts

Written by on 25/03/2021

Emmanuel Macron has made a rare admission of pandemic mistakes as he said the EU had failed to “shoot for the stars” with its vaccine strategy.

The French president noted the 27-member bloc had been “wrong” to act slowly and to “lack ambition” in pushing forward with plans for COVID inoculations.

“Everybody, all the experts said: never in the history of mankind was a vaccine developed in less than a year,” said Mr Macron.

“We didn’t shoot for the stars. That should be a lesson for all of us. We were wrong to lack ambition, to lack the madness I would say, to say: It’s possible, let’s do it.”

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Speaking to Greek television channel ERT, the 43-year-old pointed favourably to the faster strategy adopted in the US, which he said was a plan to “pull out all the stops and do it”.

“As far as we’re concerned, we didn’t go fast enough, strong enough on this,” he added.

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“We thought the vaccines would take time to take off.”

The EU has so far conducted a notoriously slow vaccination programme beset with administrative and logistical delays – and has resulted in a quarrel over doses being sent to the UK.

Britain, like the US, has been conducting a relatively speedy campaign, having administered at least one vaccine dose to more than 28 million people.

Around 2.5 million have completed the two-dose course.

As of 23 March, this meant nearly 46 jabs per 100 people had been given in Britain, according to figures compiled by Our World in Data.

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This can be compared with the less than 14 doses per 100 people administered in the EU.

On Thursday, EU leaders are due to meet for a summit to discuss a common roadmap out of the pandemic, which comes as several member states work to suppress another surge of COVID infections in their respective nations.

Vaccine exports will also be discussed after the EU’s executive unveiled plans on Wednesday to tighten oversight and allow for wider scope to block shipments to countries with higher vaccination rates.

So far, Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland, Sweden and Denmark have all expressed reservations on the proposal, while a joint statement from Brussels and London looked to cool tensions by assuring they were looking for “a win-win situation” to “expand vaccine supply for all our citizens”.

 Sky News

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