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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


3.3 HEALTH SCIENCES, Public and environmental health


On 31 March 2021, the WHO Regional Office for Europe issued a formal statement of concern regarding the slow vaccine rollout across Europe [1]. The WHO noted that the “Region remains the second most affected by SARS-CoV-2 of all the world’s regions” which was worrying, especially because the more transmissible B.1.1.7 was now dominant in the region [1]. It further contrasted this with the experiences of the UK, by noting that according to data from Public Health England, “COVID-19 vaccines have saved, at the very least, over 6,000 lives among people over 70 since vaccination started in December 2020”. Beyond such statements and a general awareness that many countries within the EU, in particular, lag behind in terms of vaccination, the impact of this policy failure remains poorly understood. One issue that appears to be hampering a European-wide debate regarding this issue, is the fact that globally the link between curbing COVID-19 and progress in vaccination is not entirely straightforward. Here, we will attempt to highlight the human cost of this EU policy failure by reference to recent patterns of COVID-19 deaths across several large EU countries.


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