The EU’s vaccination programme has been gripped with problems from the outset and its slow roll-out continues to be criticised. New statistics further highlight the bloc’s failure to keep up with other countries around the world, as three of the top four European countries for Covid vaccine rates are not even members of the EU.
A graph comparing the number of Covid vaccine doses administered per country exemplifies the EU’s slow roll-out of the jab in member states.
Out of the top four European countries on the chart, only Germany makes the cut having carried out 8.86 million inoculations.
The UK comes in first place with 25.78 million, followed by Turkey with 10.99 million and Russia with 7.7 million.
While these three countries are geographically located in Europe, they are not members of the EU.
France lays just outside the top with 7.29 million doses, followed by Italy and Spain on 6.72 and 5.35 million respectively.
The whole of the EU – which includes 27 countries – has administered 49.5 million jabs in total.
The bloc’s slow vaccine rollout comes as the deadly virus continues to spread at pace.
Italy and France in particular are struggling to keep coronavirus under control and their governments have been forced to reintroduce lockdown measures.
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The number of patients in ICU beds reached a 14-week high last Monday, at 3,849, according to the AFP news agency.
Covid cases also remain high, with a seven-day rolling average of 21,270 daily cases since mid-January.
This compares to the UK, which has seen a steady decline in Covid cases and deaths since the end of January, as a rapid vaccine programme has been rolled out.
Over the past seven days, the UK has recorded 40,295 new cases, 1,014 new deaths.
As well as the bloc’s slow vaccine rollout, the EU has also come under fire for suspending inoculations of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
A handful of EU nations have stopped administering the Anglo-Swedish jab over safety fears.
It comes after a number of cases in Europe of blood clots developing after the vaccine was administered.
However, experts say these were no more than the number of blood-clot incidents typically reported within the general population.
AstraZeneca said about 17 million people in the EU and the UK have received a dose of the vaccine, with fewer than 40 cases of blood clots reported as of last week.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged countries not to pause Covid vaccinations.