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In many ways since its inception, the sheer size and scale of the bureaucracy that is the European Union has been presented as the solution to any problem faced by countries in Europe. As a result, it is often referenced by those elsewhere who hope to implement a similar globalist vision of government.
This attitude was on full display as COVID-19 vaccines entered the global scene, when it was decided that the European Commission — one of the European Union's many bloated branches — would centralize the purchasing and distribution of vaccines for every one of its 450 million inhabitants across its 27 member states.
With the familiar arguments seen from those who promote socialized medicine in the United States — promises of efficiency, lower prices, and equality of access across economic divides — the European Union forged ahead with its plan, rather than permitting its member states to procure or organize their own vaccine programs based on their individual needs.
In short, it has been a failure of epic proportions, demonstrative of the utter ineptitude of large and unchecked bureaucracies on a continental scale.
Europe is lagging behind, left in the dust by the UK (who left just in time)
After years of political and cultural turmoil, the United Kingdom finally left the European Union on January 31st, 2020, after the British Parliament ratified the contentious withdrawal agreement dubbed "Brexit," after the December 2019 general election.
Luckily, this meant that the United Kingdom "escaped" from the European Union just before the COVID-19 pandemic, with the statistical disparities between the UK and the rest of its former European partners displaying the shocking failures of the European bloc.
The UK's strategy focuses on nine groups who will receive
the vaccine first: "care home residents and care home workers, people aged 80+ and frontline health and social care workers, those aged between 75 and 79, those aged between 70 and 74, and clinically extremely vulnerable people."
With the first dose administered in mid-December, the number of doses given "has been steadily climbing each day — with a current seven-day average of more than 400,000,"
with just over 10 million people having now received a first dose. Almost 500,000 of those have received a second dose.
When it comes to "vaccine doses per 100 people in countries with highest total vaccinations,"
Israel is ranked first with 58.8, United Arab Emirates at 34.8, and the UK at 15.2. The United States, with a far larger population and far larger land mass, is fourth with 9.9.
Meanwhile, multiple European countries with medical systems lauded by those who advocate for Medicare for All are significantly lagging behind. Italy is fifth in this ranking, with just 3.5 vaccine doses per 100 people. Germany is sixth, with just 3.1. Scandinavian utopias like Denmark, Sweden, and Norway don't even make the top ten.
Vaccine failure across the bloc
Despite the European Union's promises that a centralization of vaccine strategy would be more efficient, the reality has been one of delay and wastage. In response
, there has been a "furious backlash across the EU," with rioting and protests breaking out.
Germany's two-faced strategy on vaccine supply
- Germany: Health minister Jens Spahn described the vaccine shortage as the "biggest crisis since the Second World War." Of its 83 million citizens, only 2.7% have received the vaccine.
- Denmark: Vaccinations "running at less than third of UK rate, with 228,875 jabs given," which amounts to just 3% of its 5.8 million citizens. Appointments for healthcare workers have also been delayed.
- Ireland: "Fury over figures showing that jab rates in North up to five times higher than in Republic," with Northern Ireland remaining part of the UK while the Republic of Ireland is an EU state. Of its 4.7 million population, just 161,500 have been vaccinated, and "jabs for key health staff" have been postponed.
- Latvia: In the largest of the EU's three ex-Soviet Baltic states, mass vaccination of its two million citizens won't even begin until at least April. At the end of January, the total number of vaccines administered was just 23,091. While the country was offered 800,000 Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, there is confusion over why only 97,500 were ordered.
- Poland: Of its 38 million citizens, only 1.1 million have been vaccinated. Demonstrations and protests have broken out over long lines at vaccination centers, while shortages have caused hospitals to "suspend sessions when they didn't get Pfizer supplies."
- Italy: Of its 60 million population, only 1.8 million have received the vaccine, with the country "ten days behind schedule," with vaccine supply issues hampering efforts.
- Spain: Vaccines have been "halted," with Madrid's deputy leader warning that "at current rate, it will take until 2023 before 70 per cent of population inoculated." As the supply of the vaccine drops, almost all vaccinations have been stopped for two weeks.
- France: Of its 67 million citizens, only 1.4 million vaccines have been given, with the "target of four million to be vaccinated by end of February cut to 2.4 million."
- Netherlands: Of its 17.3 million citizens, only 215,000 people have been vaccinated, with the first doses administered a month after the vaccine was rolled out in the UK.
- Lithuania: Of its 2.8 million citizens, only 91,794 vaccinations have been administered, with "no prospect of mass inoculation until July." First round of vaccinations in care homes began in late January.
- Estonia: Of its 1.3 million citizens, only 7,600 have received two doses of the vaccine, with 34,019 receiving just one. "Despite huge public pressure to approve Russia's Sputnik V vaccine, authorities in capital Tallinn plan to stick loyally to the EU pact on supplies."
- Bulgaria: Of its seven million citizens, with "one of the highest mortality rates," only 40,000 doses of the vaccine have been given. The government has not set any official deadlines, and instead has announced an "optimistic" target of vaccinating between 1.5 and two million people by the end of August. As reported by the Daily Mail, with "blame being aimed at EU, government is predicted to break ranks and approve Russian and Chinese vaccines."
- Romania: "With 647,000 inoculated, country is sixth in EU league table," but faces concern after the government "announced delays to vaccinations for at-risk groups and key workers," with more than 65,000 facing postponed vaccine appointments until the middle of February "due to Pfizer vaccine shortages."
- Hungary: Was the first "EU state to defy EU leaders and approve Russia's Sputnik V vaccine," while 500,000 doses of Chinese Sinopharm vaccine arrived in late January.
- Greece and Cyprus: Both countries are "seeking help from Israel," asking the nearby Jewish state with an overwhelmingly successful vaccine program to "co-operate."
Capitulating under the pressure of enraged citizens, multiple countries in the bloc are blaming their bureaucratic overlords in Brussels. Germany, with Angela Merkel often seen as the de facto leader of Europe, has also been acting to further its own interests in light of its failure, often to the detriment of the union of states it claims to support.
After countries like the United Kingdom ordered vaccine supplies from European suppliers before the EU, Germany's health minister Jens Spahn pivoted to blame the shortfalls on external factors, urging
"Brussels to force companies to obtain permission before shipping jabs from the bloc." With familiar language, the notion of "fairness" was referenced, in order to obfuscate the EU's own failures.
"It's not about EU first. It's about Europe's fair share,"
said Mr. Spahn, as reported by the Financial Times. "That's why I think it would make sense to have a restriction on exports. It would mean that vaccines that leave the EU need a permit, so that at least we know what's produced in Europe, what is leaving Europe, where it's leaving Europe for, and we have a fair distribution."
Such advocacy of fairness didn't prevent Germany from acting in its own best interests, however, with Politico reporting
that "Germany is looking to have its cake and eat it, too,"
after championing joint purchasing of the vaccine and simultaneously making additional agreements for extra doses, "now purchasing additional vaccines other EU countries didn't want."
With dwindling supplies due to a combination of delayed action in ordering the vaccines, ineptitude and inefficiency in distributing the vaccine, and cynical actions of countries like Germany trying to obtain a disproportionate supply, one thing is clear: The European Union's vaccine rollout has been an unmitigated disaster, and one which will further fuel the continent's economic crisis
The COVID-19 vaccine was a bellwether test for the efficacy of mass bureaucracies like the European Union.
It's a test they have failed spectacularly.
Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.
The views expressed in this piece are the author's own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.