Vaccinations and the EU (1 Viewer)

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Roofgardener

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Mornin' all,

I don't know if there is a thread about the progress of Covid vaccinations in the USA ?

We're having fun over here in the UK. Boris and his boys n' girls have REALLY got their act together. We are anticipating having 70% adults inoculated by August.
Meanwhile, in the EU, things are NOT going so well. On current statistics, Germany and FRance will not be finished before 2024, and Bulgaria by 2040 !!!

The EU is threatening all sorts of international legal action, including forcing Pfizer not to issue vaccines around the world until the EU has got enough for its population.

In essence, many individual EU countries approached AstraZenica (and presumably Pfizer) to arrange for doses of the vaccine. But then the EU got stroppy and insisted that only IT could negotiate for such, on behalf of the individual countries. This put a 3-month beurocratic delay into things, and so naturally they went to the back of the queue.

There's an interesting article in CNN about it here - https://edition.cnn.com/2021/01/26/business/astrazeneca-pfizer-vaccine-delays-europe/index.html
The CNN article carefully glosses around two points. Firstly, the EU screwed up the ordering process (as previously mentioned); as a consequence, the AstraZenika order was on a 'best endeavours' basis. So in reality the EU has very little to complain about; certainly not legally .

Secondly: the entirety of the EU spent something like £400 million on virus research, and utterly failed to produce a vaccine. The UK spent £580 million, and has produced TWO. (one is still awaiting approval).

So how's it going in the USA ?
 

RobF

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Mornin' all,

I don't know if there is a thread about the progress of Covid vaccinations in the USA ?

We're having fun over here in the UK. Boris and his boys n' girls have REALLY got their act together. We are anticipating having 70% adults inoculated by August.
Meanwhile, in the EU, things are NOT going so well. On current statistics, Germany and FRance will not be finished before 2024, and Bulgaria by 2040 !!!

The EU is threatening all sorts of international legal action, including forcing Pfizer not to issue vaccines around the world until the EU has got enough for its population.

In essence, many individual EU countries approached AstraZenica (and presumably Pfizer) to arrange for doses of the vaccine. But then the EU got stroppy and insisted that only IT could negotiate for such, on behalf of the individual countries. This put a 3-month beurocratic delay into things, and so naturally they went to the back of the queue.

There's an interesting article in CNN about it here - https://edition.cnn.com/2021/01/26/business/astrazeneca-pfizer-vaccine-delays-europe/index.html
The CNN article carefully glosses around two points. Firstly, the EU screwed up the ordering process (as previously mentioned); as a consequence, the AstraZenika order was on a 'best endeavours' basis. So in reality the EU has very little to complain about; certainly not legally .

Secondly: the entirety of the EU spent something like £400 million on virus research, and utterly failed to produce a vaccine. The UK spent £580 million, and has produced TWO. (one is still awaiting approval).

So how's it going in the USA ?
There's a general thread about Coronavirus, but since we're here:

No, we're not 'having fun in the UK', and no, the UK has not remotely 'got its act together'. We have one of the highest death rates in the world, with over 1,200 deaths reported just yesterday, and despite being in lockdown for weeks, our case levels are still above the peak of November. The entire point of vaccination is to prevent illness and death; no amount of subsequent vaccination is going to bring back to life those who already died, or those who are going to die in the next couple of months, or reverse the effects in those already living with long-term effects. So please, save your frankly baffling jingoism. 'Boris and his boys n' girls' have repeatedly and consistently forked it up with disastrous consequences. Vaccination isn't going to undo that.

The 'on current statistics' extrapolation on vaccination rollout is plainly daft; you can't extrapolate progress from the first few weeks of January on the assumption it'll proceed at that rate indefinitely, because it very obviously isn't going to, as both production and supply will ramp up as time goes on, and other vaccines are highly likely to become available as well.

The situation with the EU and their vaccine contracts is also not as you describe. It's nothing to do with queues, or the EU doing literally what the EU exists to do and coordinating the actions of the EU nations to avoid intra-EU competition driving up costs and increasing inequality of supply between nations.

The situation is not a 'who got first dibs and who's back of the queue' issue. That's not a thing here. It's a production issue, and a contractual issue. AstraZeneca claims the UK contract requires them to prioritise UK production to the UK. Hence, production issues in Belgium impact on the EU's supply more than the UK's. The UK could in principle have agreed the same contract the day after the EU made their order with the same outcome. The only 'race' was to secure a share of the manufacturer's expected production capacity, which the EU did - and no, it's not on 'best reasonable efforts' because the EU is less reckless in terms of cost and liability and didn't rush to place an order, it's 'best reasonable efforts' because ramping up production of vaccines to an unprecedented scale isn't something any company could guarantee. The UK won't have had guaranteed contractual supply either. As it actually is, the EU's argument is that their contract with AstraZeneca does require them to use UK manufacturing to provide EU supply. It is not 'reality the EU has very little to complain about; certainly not legally.' It remains to be seen how that works out.

And in terms of vaccine research, primarily Germany but also the EU helped finance BioNTech which produced the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, so no, the EU has not 'utterly failed to produce a vaccine'.

To be quite honest, trying to present the efforts to roll out a vaccine to fight a global pandemic killing thousands of people every day as "UK good, EU bad" is incredibly distasteful. I don't know what you're trying to accomplish with that kind of tone, but you should perhaps rethink it.
 
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Roofgardener

Roofgardener

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I disagree with your analysis, and stand by my original points :)

The EU shot itself in the foot, and is now trying to bully the pharmaceutical companies into submission. They are unlikely to succeed.

Your point about extrapolations is correct, hence my inclusion of the "2040" date for Bulgaria, intended as sarcasm. However, the bit about the UK vaccinating 70% of adults by August IS correct.

So how's it going in the USA ?
 

RobF

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I disagree with your analysis, and stand by my original points :)
Yeah, that's not how this works. It's a fact that the UK has one of the highest death rates from Covid in the world. It's a fact that even now our current case rates are higher than the peak in November. It is, consequently, a fact that "Boris and his boys n' girls' have repeatedly and consistently forked it up. It's a fact that vaccinations won't undo the damage done. It's a fact that your characterisation of the EU's vaccine situation is wrong as outlined above. It's also a fact that the EU helped finance BioNTech which produced a vaccine.

So what you're actually saying, in effect, is, "La la la I'm not listening", as should be clear to anyone reading this. And you're free to do that of course. It's just not going to achieve much.
 
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Roofgardener

Roofgardener

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Yeah, that's not how this works. It's a fact that the UK has one of the highest death rates from Covid in the world. It's a fact that even now our current case rates are higher than the peak in November. It is, consequently, a fact that "Boris and his boys n' girls' have repeatedly and consistently forked it up. It's a fact that vaccinations won't undo the damage done. It's a fact that your characterisation of the EU's vaccine situation is wrong as outlined above. It's also a fact that the EU helped finance BioNTech which produced a vaccine.

So what you're actually saying, in effect, is, "La la la I'm not listening", as should be clear to anyone reading this. And you're free to do that of course. It's just not going to achieve much.
Not at all RobF. I was talking about the vaccination, not the death rates. These ARE high, as betokens a highly fluid, modern, linked society. Also the fact that a lot of our citizens are bloody-minded English, who tend not to obey authority .Well, not after about 6 months, anyway.

However, you have to admit that the vaccine response has been absolutely magnificent.

The government took a gamble and bought umpty-million doses of the virus BEFORE it was authorised for use (just as they are doing with the Novovax virus as we speak). They have created hundreds - if not thousands - of vaccination centres, and we are WELL ahead of Europe in vaccinations - by miles.

You say "vaccines won't undo the damage done", and that is - of course - correct. But here's the thing; they can avoid damage in the future, and also allow our economy to get back on its feet, saving thousand upon thousand of redundancies and misery.

I stand by what I said about the EU. It interfered with individual nations' attempts to secure the vaccine, as indeed is its purpose; it is SUPPOSED to present a united, co-ordinated front. But then it completely fluffed the negotiations with Pfizer, and delayed ordering any vaccine for 3 months. THAT is why it is now struggling, and seems to be resorting to threats to dig itself out of a hole of its own creation.

It is true that the EU helped fund BionTech back in 2020, to the tune of 50 million euros. However, this was for general immunotherapy research for Cancer treatment. I don't think it had any particular funding for Covid ?

Which brings me back to my original question: how are things going in the USA by comparison ?
 

RobF

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Not at all RobF. I was talking about the vaccination, not the death rates. These ARE high, as betokens a highly fluid, modern, linked society. Also the fact that a lot of our citizens are bloody-minded English, who tend not to obey authority .Well, not after about 6 months, anyway.
They're high as betokens a country with a shambolic government that has repeatedly failed to act in either a timely or decisive fashion, resulting in that huge, and unnecessary, death rate.

Every country on Earth has people who don't want to obey authority and stay at home. That is not remotely a uniquely English characteristic. And neither is being a 'fluid, modern, linked, society'. The UK has that death rate because the UK government has failed, over and over again, both in actions and words. Not because 'we're English'.

However, you have to admit that the vaccine response has been absolutely magnificent.

The government took a gamble and bought umpty-million doses of the virus BEFORE it was authorised for use (just as they are doing with the Novovax virus as we speak). They have created hundreds - if not thousands - of vaccination centres, and we are WELL ahead of Europe in vaccinations - by miles.
No. Pretty much every developed country on the planet has ordered millions of doses of vaccine - not of 'the virus', although given how successful the UK has been in obtaining cases of that, I can understand the confusion - before it was authorised for use. The UK is largely unexceptional in that regard.

What the UK government has done is throw more money and relatively less care at it, in an effort to compensate for their continuous failings elsewhere, which, again, have resulted in over 100,000 deaths so far that can't be undone.

So, no, I don't call throwing money and haste at something in an effort to cover for failings so vast they've cost over 100,000 people their lives so far 'magnificent'. It's a fig leaf on an ongoing disaster.

Even now the UK is gambling; from greatly delaying doses between vaccines against the manufacturers' recommendations and without evidence, to rushing out vaccines while still failing to adequately control cases which increases the risks of strains developing which escape immunity. That a gamble is not guaranteed to fail does not make it any less of a gamble.

Now if you want to talk magnificent responses, the countries that controlled the virus, with a fraction of the cases and deaths and less economic impact, that don't have to rush out vaccination as fast as possible at all costs, that qualifies as a magnificent response. So if you want to talk magnificent, that's New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam...

But then it completely fluffed the negotiations with Pfizer, and delayed ordering any vaccine for 3 months. THAT is why it is now struggling, and seems to be resorting to threats to dig itself out of a hole of its own creation.
This is, again, wrong. Delays with the Pfizer and AstroZeneca vaccines are down to production problems. And production was always being ramped up to the maximum extent possible given the global demand, it's just not easy to do. It's a fact that the EU ordered more than enough doses of different vaccines in plenty of time. It is also a fact that the manufacture and supply of vaccines in the quantity we're talking about is literally unprecedented.

What you're basically, and again, unseemly bragging about, is the UK rushing it out. That's largely it. And in the context of the UK's overall catastrophic failure, no. There's nothing to brag about there.

Which brings me back to my original question: how are things going in the USA by comparison ?
You can easily see how the USA's roll out is going in detail, here: https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/covid-vaccine-tracker-global-distribution/

It's pretty uneven. The US also acted with relatively more haste and threw relatively more money at it, but the US lacks an NHS through which distribution can be carried out, and the federal government has been lax in coordinating rollout across the states. But that should improve with the new administration.

As an aside, you can also see from that link that the EU is doing relatively better than the most of the planet.
 

wardorican

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Looks like we're hitting over 1.5 million a day, just not on the moving average yet. But if the daily rates keep up, that's good news.

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barbar

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Merkel has just promised that all of Germany will be vaccinated by summer. So far, they have been dragging their feet. We shall see. There is an online estimation tool that says I should get an appointment in April.
 

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