How can Europe speed up vaccination?

Almost two months after their launch, the vaccination campaigns in Europe are still making slower progress than many would like. Deliveries of the jointly procured vaccines to EU member states are taking longer than expected, and while certain countries outside the EU, like the UK and Serbia, are forging ahead, others like Ukraine are lagging behind. Europe's press discusses what improvements can be made at the organisational level.

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Eesti Päevaleht (EE) /

A little more flexibility, please!

Eesti Päevaleht makes suggestions for accelerating the vaccination campaign:

“We shouldn't cling too tightly to the priority lists. If people on the list can't be reached but there is enough vaccine, ordinary citizens should be invited to get the jab. In addition to telephone calls, digital solutions should also be available. By the same token solutions should be boldly sought to immunise as many people as possible with the available vaccines. Those who have already survived coronavirus don't need a second shot. It's also worth considering giving up the stockpile of second doses. ... We could also ask to get our future shares of the vaccine as a loan. For instance there's plenty of the Astrazeneca vaccine stockpiled in Germany because people are afraid of it.”

Visão (PT) /

The British plan can't be emulated

Many European countries are now looking enviously at Britain, which looks set to achieve herd immunity as early as May. But with its transnational rules the EU simply can't follow suit, Visão concedes:

“Britain has a unique advantage in Europe. ... Portugal can only achieve 70 percent herd immunity if it does so together with all the countries of the EU, according to the rationale of the joint vaccination plan. In other words, we're not just talking about 14 million vaccinations for ourselves, but also about 600 million vaccinations for 300 million people in the bloc. And that will be very, very difficult.”

Magyar Hang (HU) /

Romania has the more effective strategy

Even in the absence of Russian and Chinese vaccines, more people have been vaccinated in Romania than in Hungary. Magyar Hang puts this success down to the country's vaccination strategy:

“At least from a distance it seems to be working better. ... Because in Romania teachers and those working in key areas were placed in the second priority group, which includes not only them but also everyone working in the so-called critical infrastructure: postal workers, police officers, employees of the energy sector and all municipal utilities, filling stations and even those working in restaurants, cafes and grocery stores. In addition, the registration and organisation process wasn't passed on to the general practitioners [as in Hungary], but was coordinated online.”

Milliyet (TR) /

Vaccines the most effective investment for tourism

Turkey is relying almost exclusively on the low-cost vaccine of Chinese manufacturer Sinovac. That won't be enough, says Milliyet:

“Last year, Turkey's tourism revenues dropped by 65 percent. ... This year will be busier than last year, that's for sure. First of all Turkey needs to get rid of the EU travel restrictions. Then it needs match the vaccination rates of its rivals Spain, Greece and Portugal. ... Coronavirus vaccines are not cheap, some cost 18 dollars per dose. Turkey has bought vaccines at far lower prices so far, but when you do a cost calculation you also have to consider the billions of dollars from the tourism pie. ... We can consider the dollars coming in thanks to tourism as a goose and the dollars to be paid for vaccines as a chicken.”

La Vanguardia (ES) /

Only global immunity can defeat Covid

Ghana on Wednesday became the first country to receive coronavirus vaccines through the UN Covax programme. La Vanguardia takes the opportunity to stress the importance of making vaccination available to everyone, everywhere:

“Programmes like Covax are welcome. Firstly, because allowing inequalities to be reflected in the pandemic - with the Africans being abandoned to their fate - is unacceptable. All individuals have the same right to protection from the disease. And secondly, epidemiologists keep emphasising that collective immunity cannot work at the global level if certain parts of the world are left out of the vaccination process and so retain the potential to keep the disease alive and re-export it to countries where it had already been contained. If we don't want Covid to become endemic, 60 percent of the world's population needs to be vaccinated within the next two years.”