Despite vaccine delays, EU insists on target for vaccinating 70 pct of adults by end

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European Union chief Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday insisted the bloc remained on course to vaccinate 70 percent of adults against coronavirus by the end of summer, despite delivery shortfalls.

“We know that we can achieve our target to have 70 percent of the adult population fully vaccinated by the end of the summer,” the European Commission president told journalists.

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“We know that deliveries will increase in the second quarter.”

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Von der Leyen said the EU was set to receive 55 million shots of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson jab between April and June after a green light from regulators last week.

The bloc can also “rely on” getting 200 million doses from BioNtech/Pfizer and another 35 million doses from Moderna during that period, she said.

The EU is facing a dramatic reduction in the number of doses due to be delivered by AstraZeneca throughout the second quarter, she said, with the total only set to reach 70 million as opposed to the expected 180 million.

But von der Leyen insisted that despite this gap the number of vaccines available would still be enough to reach Brussels' target.

“In Q2 we are expecting 300 million doses at least, and if you're not very conservative then that number could go up,” she said.

“We are on a steep and reliable path, but I think we should aim at moving on faster and delivering more and better.”

The EU has faced a stuttering start to its campaign to inoculate the population of 450 million people and lagged behind the likes of Israel, the United States and the United Kingdom.

The European Commission, which took responsibility for ordering the vaccines for the entire bloc, has faced intense criticism over delivery shortages.

Overall the 27 nations are set to receive 100 million doses in the first three months of this year, after AstraZeneca slashed its promise from 90 to 30 million, von der Leyen said.

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