Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
The EU is a major manufacturer and exporter of vaccines.
As far as I know, it's a zero-sum game : if the inhabitants of the EU have missed out on doses, they have not gone to waste, they have gone to other countries and been used.

Given that the EU (as such) has a limited role in these matters, and that it has acted in good faith insofar as it is only in recent weeks that the notion of European vaccine protectionism has emerged, I don't see that there is any "EU vaccine disaster" on offer.

Each constituent country has a regalian duty to provide vaccines to its population; the EU has, rightly, offered help, without having any specific competency. I find it difficult morally to justify vaccine protectionism on a EU level; that, too, should be a national prerogative. But the individual nations prefer to hide behind the EU on this... Bravely.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 31st, 2021 at 02:34:35 PM EST
It's not entirely a zero sum game if vaccines manufactured in the EU continue to go to countries with much higher vaccination rates and who are now vaccinating low risk people while relatively high risk people in the EU are still waiting their turn.

In an entirely fair world vaccines would have been allocated to each country based on their current infection/death rate so that all high risk/exposure people are vaccinated simultaneously for countries with similar infection/death risks. High risk people in Czechia, Hungary, Belgium etc. would then receive the highest priority working downwards.  

But as we know we don't live in an entirely fair world and I have a difficulty with Brexiteers gloating about vaccinating their general population while high risk categories go unvaccinated elsewhere and quoting contract law in support of their position. In a few months time, when almost everyone has been vaccinated, all of this might well be forgotten, but right now its a sore point for many.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Mar 31st, 2021 at 06:21:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Last I heard (Feb 2021) the Tories were violating vaccination protocol by giving as many first shots as they could and not following-up with the same number of second shots.  This allowed them a propaganda victory.  The medical results however are suspect.  Not putting a person through the whole course of intervention is the classic way for a pathogen to become resistant to the intervention.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Thu Apr 1st, 2021 at 04:56:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, they're allowing a 12 week gap between shots, when the trial data is based on a 3-4 week gap. I actually think there is a legitimate epidemiological case for this, as studies indicate even the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine offers a very high level of protection, whereas the second dose only boosts this by 10% or so.

If that is the case, and you get one person 85% protected with 1 shot, it may make sense to delay the second shot and give it as a first shot to someone else who will be 85% protected rather than boosting the first person by only another 10%.

From an individual point of view, you want to get max protection asap, but from a herd immunity perspective, you get more bang for you buck by spreading the doses more.

Of course medical opinion is divided on this and we won't be sure what is the most effective strategy for some time yet. But to me it seems getting as many people 85% protected as possible ASAP is a better strategy to avoid further spread.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Apr 1st, 2021 at 07:44:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pfizer and Moderna are 80% effective after the first dose and 94-95% effective after the second.  

At least according to the Infotainment Mediums.  I haven't been able to track down the (supposed) CDC study the Infotainment Reports are (supposedly) reporting.  Given journalists and editors exhibit almost total ignorance of science and technology take with salt.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Apr 3rd, 2021 at 03:57:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Study link ...

Messenger RNA (mRNA) COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to be effective in preventing symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection in randomized placebo-controlled Phase III trials

The findings complement and expand upon these preceding reports by demonstrating that the vaccines can also reduce the risk for infection regardless of COVID-19-associated illness symptom status (4,5). Reducing the risk for transmissible infection, which can occur among persons with asymptomatic infection or among persons several days before symptoms onset (6), is especially important among health care personnel, first responders, and other essential and frontline workers given their potential to transmit the virus through frequent close contact with patients and the public.

(My) conclusion: vaccination does limit virus shredding by a-symptomatic persons and prevent high level of infection.

by Oui on Sat Apr 3rd, 2021 at 04:20:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sat Apr 3rd, 2021 at 04:24:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In any case, this "what's mine is mine, what's yours is negotiable" hasn't improved Britain's image in Europe. If anything, the EU27 governments are now united on one point: get tough with Johnson.
by Bernard on Thu Apr 1st, 2021 at 06:06:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why does it take Brexiteers crowing over their vaccine nationalism to unite EU leaders against them? Was the UK breaking the N. Ireland protocol of the Withdrawal agreement not enough for them?

AFAIK talks aimed at providing UK financial services "equivalence" and greater access to the Single Market are still making good progress.


And will the EP not vote to ratify the Trade and Cooperation Agreement?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Apr 1st, 2021 at 07:50:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brexit has had a very uneven impact among the 27 EU member countries. First and foremost, of course Ireland getting cut from a "landbridge" to the rest of the EU and all the concerns over NI, the Border and the Protocol.

Then, to a lesser extent, the countries having a strong trade with the UK, or fishing fleets in the UK waters, mostly countries on the western side of the continent.

But Ireland, north or south, is a very faraway country seen from Bucarest, Ljubljana or Bratislava and Brexit had a relatively smaller impact in those countries in eastern Europe. Over there, Brexit is not the prominent, almost existential issue that it represents for Ireland. In a large number of EU countries, Brexit doesn't have the mind-share it has in Ireland, not anywhere close.

The AZ vaccine, on the other hand, and the strong-arming tactics of the UK government to ensure that all the doses produced in the UK be delivered to the UK while happily accepting over 8 million doses from AZ factories on the continent exported to the UK, in the name of "free trade": this has hit all the EU27 pretty much equally. It has shown that the Tories are not merely a nuisance to their nearest neighbors but can stick it up even to the most remote regions of Europe.

For over a year now, the Covid crisis has being issue #1, issue #2 and issue #3 to just about every government in Europe, in a way that Brexit has never ever been. That's what's different.

As for the financial services equivalence and the Trade agreement ratification, I don't expect it is going to move as smoothly as it is expected in Whitehall (while they're still crowing about having pulled a fast one over the Continentals, smart lads that they are).

by Bernard on Thu Apr 1st, 2021 at 08:35:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well articulated and I appreciate that, from a popular point of view, Brexit did not figure all that highly in most EU member states. Perhaps I am being over legalistic about all this, but to break an agreement within weeks of having signed it is to me a red flag issue sufficient to close down all other meaningful talks unless they are absolutely necessary from an EU self-interested point of view.

I cannot see why anyone would want to make concessions to a Tory government while that situation continues - unless you are a craven Anglophile, as some in Ireland are. To me opposing Tory mendacity, as much as opposing Trump mendacity is, a matter of principle which should have united all EU governments, even if the issue was obscure to many citizens.

All that said, if opposition to UK vaccine nationalism brings their mendacity (which we tend to take for granted) home to the general EU public, then so much the better. This has become an existential issue for the EU. If it cannot do better, post Brexit, than the UK, it's raison d'etre is demolished.

Why remain a member if the UK has shown they can do better on their own?  I hope this realisation lights a fire under the Commission and various EU member state governments tempted to play soft-ball with the UK. Draghi's "whatever it takes" comment in relation to the ECB must now become the motto of the Commission, Council and Parliament.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Apr 1st, 2021 at 08:52:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Šefčovič, who was painted by Whitehall as "reasonable" (as opposed to "robotic Barnier"), was the first to throw the book at the UK. I don't see anyone in Brussels, or in any EU capital, willing to make any concessions to the Tories. Not now; not after the AZ export blow-up; not after the NI protocol breaches.

If it looked, to many EU countries, mostly a matter of principle, but one that still got them united behind the EC and its now retired chief negotiator, the vaccine crisis has really brought home the point that disregarding principles has real-life consequences. It has effectively been the Great Equalizer among all the EU27.

Even if the higher number of vaccinated people gives the Tories some bragging rights today, I don't see any evidence that the whole Brexit thing is doing so great.  Businesses are still relocating to the continent, the EU won't cut them any slack, Biden is still Irish and the only passenger rail link between the UK and continental Europe may shutdown because the Tories are unwilling to fund it (Eurostar's UK shares have been bought back by the French and Belgian railways some years ago).

It's good that so many Britons have been already vaccinated because they have suffered enough already: the UK has by far the highest Covid death toll of all the European nations. However, there's no guarantee they will be able to continue at this rate without further imports from the EU, especially considering they have purposely delayed the second injection to cover more people with a first jab.

by Bernard on Fri Apr 2nd, 2021 at 09:04:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Seems likely the Brexit economic impact will be drawn out over several years at least. Small companies might internalize losses in order to stay in business for a while, big companies can draw on their cash resources. And mixing the COVID-19 damage in with the Brexit numbers will give politicians cover. It might be five years before equilibrium is reached?
by asdf on Sat Apr 3rd, 2021 at 03:41:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have always seen the Brexit damage as slow and incremental rather than as a big bang. Any initial problems will be masked by Covid and it may take 10 years for the UK to recover its reputation as "the sick man of Europe". The Tories are brilliant at marketing even small wins while the big stuff will be ignored by a compliant media. Brits still don't realise that income/capita is higher in Ireland than in their Great Britain and many will not notice for many years..

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Apr 3rd, 2021 at 04:33:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, the page you linked to doesn't show any income per capita figures at all: I've searched the table at least twice. It does show plenty of figures, including a GDP par capita figure more than twice the UK's ($84 K vs. $40 K), but we know that this ridiculous number is due to leprechaun economics and adds little to the Irish people's wealth.

I've tried to find figures for the household income per capita (for "real" people, not corporation-are-people), from various sources: they tend to show a figure ($22,500 to $25,300) that is a bit behind the UK's households ($25,000 to $28,700), but not by much.

Obviously, the income has progressed a lot since Ireland joined the EU, particularly during the Celtic Tiger years, and is now closing the gap without most of Western Europe countries; it looks like  Irish household income is now higher than in Spain or even Italy.

OTOH, the income figure for UK households may actually go down over the next years, with the Brexit effects slowly eating at the people's "real" economy (not the City), as you mentioned.

by Bernard on Sun Apr 11th, 2021 at 10:10:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And note the second half of my comment:

Not putting a person through the whole course of intervention is the classic way for a pathogen to become resistant to the intervention.  

SARS-CoV-19 is a Group IV positive-sense single-stranded RNA (+ssRNA) virus.  This means the virus can be directly translated (manufactured) by the cell's ribosomes into multiple copies.  Single strand RNA is more susceptible to change and single strand RNA is more likely to change.  Under evolutionary stress - vaccination - an organism with single strand RNA will evolve in response to that stress towards immunity to the vaccine.  The additional weeks is an opening for the virus to mutate a response.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Apr 3rd, 2021 at 04:22:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As I argued before, the notion and policy "to let her rip" - Herd Immunity by infection - we'll get your country credited with a mutant name born by the source: Brazil-South Africa-UK Kent ... and recognition by a hight body count. The US is lacking in genomic tracking and is not aware of the spread of new Covid-19 variants. Science has witnessed that that development or evolution of the Corona virus across the globe creates very similar strains as time evolves.

The story behind the UK's world-leading SARS-CoV-2 genomics capability | Cambridge |

by Oui on Sat Apr 3rd, 2021 at 06:02:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What options did Brazil and South Africa have?  They couldn't afford to vaccinate their populations even if the vaccine doses were available, which they weren't.  And aren't. Demand is vastly outstripping supply which Pfizer, et.al., told us would happen back in December.

The B.1.427 and B.1.429 ("California" sic) variants were discovered and sequenced in the US so I don't know what you mean by "the US is lacking in genomic tracking."  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Apr 4th, 2021 at 03:52:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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