Ursula von der Leyen shared a video on her Twitter page to celebrate the arrival of the first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine across the bloc. The European Commission President hailed the occasion as a “touching moment of unity” and a “European success story.” But social media users appeared to strongly disagree as they slammed the European Union for the delays in approving the jab compared to the UK and the United States.
One user said: “This could never be regarded as the EU finest hour. It seems the central procurement process has been woefully inefficient and the UK was wise not to take part. Though widely mocked @Jacob_Rees_Mogg appears to have been right.”
Another user commented on the video saying: “USA 1 Million vaccinated. UK 600.000 vaccinated. EU ZERO Vaccinated! Get going!”
Many lamented Brussels’ failure to order “enough” vaccines to cover the majority of the EU population despite months of restrictions weighing on both citizens and the economy.
They said: “Without EU we would have had more vaccines and faster.”
The sentiment was echoed by another user, who wrote: “It is indeed very touching that we are (again) too late with too fewer vaccines bought by the #EU. Unbelievable.”
Other users took particular issue with the European Medicines Authority (EMA) taking several weeks to approve the vaccine while the UK began to roll out the jabs on December 8.
One user said: “Good to see EU symbolism means more than EU citizen lives……you could have started vaccinating weeks ago.
“The UK now has 600,000 vaccinated with the first dose.”
“Our European Vaccination Days are a touching moment of unity and a European success story. Very soon we will have more vaccines once they’re proven to be safe and effective.
“The European Union has secured enough doses of vaccines for our whole population of 450 million people.”
She added: “We also secured vaccines for our EEA neighbours like Iceland and Norway. Vaccination will help us get our normal lives back, gradually.
“Once enough people have been vaccinated, we can start travelling, meeting our friends and family again and have normal holidays, which we all long for. But until then, we have to continue being careful.
“We need to protect ourselves, our loved ones, from the virus. Let’s make 2021 our year of European recovery and hope.”