Johnson & Johnson begins delivering Covid-19 vaccines to EU
Deliveries on track to provide target of 55 million doses to the bloc by the end of June
Ireland’s population entitles it to roughly 605,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine by the end of June. Photograph: Bryan Anselm/New York Times
Deliveries of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine to European Union member states have begun rolling out earlier than expected in a boost to the continent’s vaccination efforts.
“The first doses are leaving the warehouses for the member states today,” commission spokesman Stefan De Keersmaecker said on Monday.
Deliveries are on track to provide the target of 55 million doses to the bloc by the end of June, he added. In some member states doses were arriving a week earlier than planned.
Ireland’s population entitles it to roughly 605,000 doses of the overall EU total by the end of June, which officials say should help ramp up national campaigns across the bloc as single-dose vaccinations are logistically straightforward.
“This will help speed up access to vaccinations for citizens and ensure that we reach our target of vaccinating 70 per cent of the adult population by the summer,” health commissioner Stella Kyriakides said in a tweet.
Peter Liese, an MEP who is the health spokesman for the centre-right block in parliament, said the deliveries indicated the EU’s vaccination targets “may now even be exceeded”.
“You only need one vaccination to achieve adequate protection, so the vaccine will massively accelerate the pace in Germany and the EU,” Mr Liese said in a statement, adding that “if things go well” all EU adults could be offered a vaccine by mid-summer.
It comes as vaccination rates ramp up in several member states, with Germany, France and Spain hitting new records of daily shots given, with each vaccinating hundreds of thousands a day.
France injected 510,000 people on Friday, and this week made AstraZeneca vaccines available to anyone aged over 55, while Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were offered to anyone over 60. The country has hit a target of administering 10 million doses a week earlier than expected.
Spain celebrated administering a record 453,700 doses in 24 hours, while the addition of GPs to Germany’s vaccination programme drove a rise to 719,000 jabs administered in a single day on Thursday. The Berlin government plans to provide GPs with a million doses a week.
Several European countries are in a vaccination race against a fresh wave of Covid-19 infections. France reported a new 2021 record number of patients in intensive care of 5,916 on Monday, and has put in place a new strict nationwide lockdown in a bid to force down infections.