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Europe's COVID-19 vaccine drive set to pick up as 100 millionth dose delivered

Europe's COVID-19 vaccine drive set to pick up as 100 millionth dose delivered

A doctor prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine in the eastern German town of Weisswasser, Germany, April 9, 2021. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

BERLIN: Europe has taken delivery of more than 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines that should help the region's initially sluggish inoculation drive finally gather momentum, according to a weekly monitoring report.

A total of 104 million doses have been sent to countries in the European Union and European Economic Area, working out at 27.7 doses per 100 inhabitants, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said.

That compared to 82 million doses that have been administered to date, according to figures showing an increase in the number of doses available to inject into the arms of Europeans.

It's a rare piece of good news for a vaccination campaign that has relied on a centralised EU procurement and approvals process that has been made to look slow by Israel, Britain and the United States.

Europe also bet heavily on the vaccine from AstraZeneca, which has encountered production problems, while cases of rare blood clotting in some recipients have prompted governments to recommend its use only in people aged over 60.

READ: AstraZeneca: Who is using the jab, and who is not

READ: WHO slams 'shocking' COVID-19 vaccine imbalance between rich and poor

The data tied in with a pick-up in the pace in big EU countries like Germany, which hit a record daily tally of more than 700,000 doses administered on Thursday - after drafting family doctors this week to support its existing network of vaccination centres.

"With increasing deliveries, the number of vaccinations we can do is rising," German Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Friday, forecasting a further acceleration in doses to be sent to family doctors in May.

On average, 16 per cent of adults in Europe have received a first shot while 6.7 per cent have been fully vaccinated, typically by getting a second injection. By contrast, 62 per cent of Israelis have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, 47 per cent in Britain and 34 per cent in the United States.

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Source: Reuters/nh

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