“Writing on Twitter, Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised the efforts of all the scientists, medics and volunteers who have worked to develop the vaccine since the virus took hold in March … the US media yesterday praised Britain's roll-out of the breakthrough vaccine in the country's biggest ever mass immunisation programme”.
And the Mail was still sneering last April: “Europe's vaccine roll-out has been condemned for being 'unacceptably slow' and blamed for 'prolonging the pandemic' by the World Health Organisation … The EU is facing soaring infections … Only 10 per cent of Europe's population have received a first dose, compared to nearly 60 per cent of Britons”.
But by mid-June, those dastardly foreigners were catching up! The BBC reported that “The rollout of Covid vaccines in European Union (EU) countries is picking up speed, with more than 300 million jabs administered. As of 20 June, nearly half of the EU's adult population have had at least one one dose, while 28% have been fully vaccinated”. Do go on.
“In the week to 20 June 2021, Germany administered an average of 1 dose per 100 people a day, with Italy and France close behind on 0.9 dose per 100 people - all higher than the UK's 0.6 per 100”. By this month, the Guardian reported that “Six EU states have now fully inoculated a larger share of their total populations with a coronavirus vaccine than the UK, after the bloc’s dire initial rollout took off while Britain’s impressive early jab rate has slumped”. And which member states would those be?
View over downtown Lisbon from Parque Eduardo VII
“According to government and health service figures collated by the online science publication Our World In Data, Malta, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Denmark and Ireland have all overtaken the UK in terms of the percentages of their populations who are fully vaccinated”. Also, the Netherlands has since moved ahead of the UK.
So what happened? Well, in the case of Portugal, after the country had a grim winter - making the same mistake as the UK in opening up over Christmas - with hospitals inundated and death rates peaking at over 290 a day, there was more bad news as their Covid-19 vaccine taskforce coordinator resigned. But then, all was turned around.
The Government in Lisbon called in the military: Vice-Admiral Henrique de Gouveia e Melo was made Covid-19 vaccine taskforce coordinator, and vaccination rates went up dramatically. Whisper it quietly, the country is now moving to jab 16 and 17 year olds, which will be followed by 12 to 15 year olds before the return to school later next month. With the need to allow tourists in to spend money, this move is a no brainer.
Meanwhile, the UK publicises anti-vax wackos and whining “don’t jab kids” pundits, like the ranting Allison Pearson in the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph.
The press was sneering then. It isn’t sneering now. They don’t sing when they’re losing.
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