PARIS (Reuters) – European leaders did not see that COVID-19 vaccines would be developed as soon as they did and that is why launches in the EU are now lagging behind other countries, the French president said, Emmanuel Macron, in an interview broadcast on Wednesday.
“Everybody, every expert said: Never in the history of mankind has a vaccine been developed in less than a year,” Macron told Greek TV channel ERT.
“We don’t shoot for the stars. That should be a lesson for all of us. We are wrong in lacking ambition, lacking insane, I would say, saying: it’s possible, let’s do it, ”Macron said, in a rare admission of failure in the pandemic.
European Union leaders are scrambling to speed up vaccines, lagging behind countries like Britain and the United States, and facing supply delays.
Macron himself has come under fire at home for a faltering launch that has been held back by bureaucracy and public distrust of vaccines.
“We did not think it would happen so fast … You can give it to the Americans, already in the summer of 2020 they said: let’s do everything we can and do it,” Macron said.
“As for us, we weren’t fast enough, strong enough at this. We thought vaccines would take time to get off the ground. “
The EU tightened its surveillance of coronavirus vaccine exports on Wednesday, giving it greater scope to block shipments to countries with higher inoculation rates, such as Britain, or that do not share the doses they produce.
Report by Michel Rose; Edited by Angus MacSwan