Europe badly lags US in jabs-in-arms race

·2-min read
Only five percent of EU citizens have had a second dose of a vaccine against Covid-19.

Europe -- heavily criticised by the World Health Organization for its sluggish Covid vaccine rollout -- is badly lagging behind in the jabs-in-arms race, according to an AFP tally.

Broadly speaking, the Americans are doing three times better than the 27-nation European Union.

While 11.7 percent of the EU's population has got a first dose, the US is cresting the 30 percent mark.

Only five percent of EU citizens have had a second dose against 15.9 percent on the other side of the Atlantic.

Although some smaller EU countries like Malta are doing well, giving a job to more than one percent of their populations every day, the rate in the bloc's four biggest economies -- Germany, France, Spain and Italy -- is three times slower.

These four countries have given jabs to around 12 percent of their populations, roughly the EU average.

- 'Unacceptably slow' -

The WHO, which on Thursday slammed the continent's "unacceptably slow" vaccine roll-out, also includes Israel, Britain, Russia, Turkey and former Soviet Central Asian countries its vast European zone.

The zone overall has given one quarter of the 596 million shots administered around the world although it accounts for just 12 percent of the planet's population.

That figure was further boosted by Israel, which has topped the vaccination table from the start with three fifths of its population having received at least one dose.

The UK, which is no longer in the EU, has also shone, partly inoculating 45.5 percent of its people, followed by Malta (32.3 percent), Hungary (21.4 percent) and Serbia (21.3 percent).

Other European countries, mainly in the former Eastern Bloc, are advancing much more slowly, like EU members Bulgaria (5.4 percent) and Latvia (6.1 percent) as well as Ukraine (0.6 percent), Moldova (one percent), Montenegro (3.1 percent) and Albania (4.1 percent), who are outside the bloc.