Currently, Germany has vaccinated roughly six per cent of its population, with around five million first doses and three million second doses administered. By comparison, in the UK over 21 million people have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, approximately one third of the entire population. At the start of the pandemic, Ms Merkel and Germany held the EU Council Presidency and therefore was in poll position to influence the EU’s vaccine procurement strategy.
Ms Merkel had a key ally in the form of Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission and a former German Defence Minister.
The German Chancellor insisted that the EU should procure vaccines for all its member states, warning against “vaccine nationalism”.
However, the European vaccine rollout has been beset by chaos and delays, leaving many still waiting to get their first Covid jab.
Julian Reichelt, the managing editor of Germany’s largest selling tabloid newspaper Bild, told CNN that the blame for the vaccine fiasco lay squarely at the door of the German chancellor.
He said: “Germany is the architect of the European failure because Germany and Merkel were behind pushing for the European process that was a failure from the beginning.
“She wanted to make it all about Europe and her being a great European.”
The German chancellor has been a strident critic of vaccine nationalism and has continually warned of its dangers.
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Previously, Germany had not recommended the vaccine for the elderly, claiming that there insufficient data to prove that it was effective in those over-60.
Ms Merkel, who is 66, had previously said she would not take the Oxford vaccine.
But now German health authorities have reversed that decision and given the green light for over-60s to be vaccinated with Astrazeneca.