EU chief acknowledges errors in vaccine rollout

(Update 1: Provides new angle, adds detail, alters headline, lede).

Brussels, Feb 10 (efe-epa).- The president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday acknowledged shortcomings in the EU’s vaccine rollout.

“We were late with the approval. We were too optimistic on mass production and perhaps too confident that what we ordered would actually be delivered on time,” she said during a debate in the European Parliament.

The bloc’s Covid-19 vaccine program has been beset by delays and order shortfalls.

She added that the EU made mistakes in its hasty effort to control vaccine exports amid a spat with pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca late last month.

The EU triggered an emergency article that would have forced controls at the sensitive border between the Republic of Ireland, an EU member, and Northern Ireland, a UK territory, during a row over an order shortfall with the Anglo-Swedish firm.

“As far as the mechanism goes, allow me a word on the island of Ireland. The bottom line is that mistakes were made in the process leading up to the decision, and I deeply regret that,” von der Leyen said.

The EU performed a U-turn on the mechanism following backlash from the governments in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. AstraZeneca had informed the EU that it would fall short on the first delivery of its advance purchase agreement by 75%. EFE-EPA


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