The EU and fight against Covid


Sir, – If the main objective of vaccine programmes is to reduce Covid deaths, then criticism of the EU may be misplaced or premature (Naomi O’Leary, “Ursula von der Leyen admits Europe ‘not where it wants to be’ in fight on Covid-19”, World, February 10th).

The death rate in the UK, for example, is still double that in Germany. And coming down no faster, despite the much earlier rollout of vaccines.

The reason is that the current Covid death rate, apart from the adequacy of the health system, depends on at least four other critical factors. The duration and effectiveness of the ongoing lockdowns. The rate at which vaccines are rolled out. The proportion of the population agreeing to receive vaccines. And the efficacy of the vaccines so applied, especially among those aged over 65.

It is the combination of these, not one of them alone, which will determine the success or otherwise of different policies regarding Covid death rates. – Yours, etc,


Emeritus Professor

of Economics,

Trinity College Dublin,

Dublin 2.