An EU Commissioner believes that Europe could achieve herd immunity by July, despite a sluggish vaccine rollout and multiple nationwide lockdowns across the bloc.
“Let’s take a symbolic date: by 14th July, we have the possibility of achieving immunity across the continent,” Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner for Internal Market, told French broadcaster TF1.
The EU has been widely criticised for its sluggish vaccine rollout, far behind that of the United Kingdom and the United States, following a joint-procurement deal that aimed to distribute vaccines equally across the bloc.
Some European countries stopped the delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccine following fears that it might develop blood clots. However, the European Medicines Agency later concluded that the vaccine was both “safe and effective”.
“We’re in the home stretch, because we know that to beat this pandemic there’s just one solution: vaccination. The vaccines are arriving,” Breton continued.
However, AstraZeneca has only delivered 30% of the 90 million doses promised to the EU for the first three months of the year. In Italy, authorities blocked a shipment of AstraZeneca to Australia after the pharmaceutical company failed to meet its supply requirements.
Earlier this month, the EMA gave the green light for the distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the only single-dose jab on the market, which is expected to ramp up the inoculation process across the EU.
However, despite the optimistic timeline, several European countries have started reimposing further restrictions amid fears of a third wave of infections.
Malta has gone into a quasi-lockdown until 11th April but a new set of data suggests that the country is administering more vaccine doses per day than the UK, US and EU.
According to Health Minister Chris Fearne, the country will have achieved herd immunity by the end of August. However, this prediction was made prior to the authorisation of AstraZeneca and J&J.
Do you think we’ll achieve herd immunity by summer? Let us know below