EU Keeps Global Vaccine Supply Alive Amid Uneven Home Rollout

The European Union’s vaccine production capacity has been keeping the global rollout of shots going, while it deals with an uneven campaign at home that’s casting doubt over the timing of reopening in some member states.

The EU authorized the export of 136.1 million doses to 43 countries between Jan. 31 and April 19, according to an internal memo seen by Bloomberg. Around 52.3 million were shipped to Japan, 16.2 million to the U.K. and 12.8 million to Canada, according to the document, which was circulated to government envoys in Brussels on Wednesday.

EU Keeps Global Vaccine Supply Alive Amid Uneven Home Rollout

The data in the document also highlight glaring differences in the efficiency of national vaccination campaigns. Progress varies hugely, even though all member states had access to the same number of doses relative to their population from the contracts struck between the European Commission and major drug makers.

While Malta has already administered 67 doses per 100 adults, Bulgaria is only at 11 doses per 100. The average for the whole EU is 31.6, with countries including Hungary, Estonia and Denmark leading the push, and Latvia and Croatia among those lagging behind.

EU Keeps Global Vaccine Supply Alive Amid Uneven Home Rollout

The bloc wants to gradually ease restrictions on movement with the introduction of vaccine certificates that will allow travel for those inoculated or recovered from the coronavirus. Current curbs have dealt a severe blow to tourism-dependent economies in the south, though lifting them is contingent on getting the spread of the virus under control and immunizing a sufficient number of people.

According to the memo seen by Bloomberg, three export requests from the EU were “pending” as of April 19, compared with 11 in a similar briefing note circulated on April 13. The comparison shows that 22.6 million shots have been exported from the EU in the week between April 13 and April 19 alone, of which 1 million were shipped to the U.K.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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