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Coronavirus

Senior EU official coordinating vaccine supply counters booster shot critics

Published: Updated:

The EU commissioner in charge of coordinating Europe’s Covid-19 vaccine supply on Wednesday pushed back against criticism from the WHO that buying booster shots for Europeans was unfair to poorer countries still waiting for jabs.

Thierry Breton, the EU internal market commissioner, said the roughly 300 million to 350 million doses of vaccines needed for potential extra jabs in Europe would amount to just one month of European production.

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“It means one month of production. That is what we are talking about,” Breton told reporters in Brussels.

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“I understand the message, but the numbers don’t add up in the sense that when you actually put Europe and the United States together, we will produce 500 to 600 million doses every month,” he added.

Breton insisted that in any case, the booster jabs should not be administered until six months after prior full vaccination and that hundreds of millions of vaccines were headed to countries in need, notably in Africa.

The EU has yet to recommend a third round of jabs, but Breton said he personally expected this to become widespread practice after major bloc members such as France already announced their campaigns.

The World Health Organization last month condemned the rush by wealthy countries, notably the United States, to provide Covid vaccine booster shots, while millions around the world have yet to receive a single dose.

On August 18 the WHO emergencies director, Mike Ryan, said countries were handing “extra life jackets to people who already have life jackets, while we’re leaving other people to drown.”

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