The president of the European Commission admitted to mistakes in the bloc’s approach to inoculating its 447 million people against COVID-19, acknowledging that it was late to approve a vaccine and that officials held unrealistic expectations about how quickly one could be deployed.
As a result, “We are still not where we want to be,” Ursula von der Leyen told European Parliament lawmakers in Brussels.
“We were late to authorize,” she said. “We were too optimistic when it came to massive production and perhaps we were too confident that, what we ordered, would actually be delivered on time.”
She said the European Union had received 26 million doses so far and that by the end of summer, 70% of adults in the 27-nation bloc should be inoculated. So far, less than 4% of the EU’s population has received at least one dose, compared to 17% in the U.K. Just under 10% of the U.S. population has received a first dose.