Petra Pakozdi

European Affairs Analyst

The Handling of Vaccine Rollouts Will Determine Economic Leaders and Runner Ups

From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic scientists knew that vaccination is the key to get life back under normal circumstances. To get back tourism, hotels, restaurants, travelling and shopping to business. Besides attempting to open economies again, the process of vaccination became a political and ideological competition. The handling of vaccine rollouts will determine who is going to be an economic leader and who will be just a runner-up.


This divergence is just opening up during this year, with China’s economic expansion by 2.3% in 2020, Joe Biden’s attempt to offer vaccines for every adult American citizen by May and the EU countries slowing down. To be able to examine each place’s performance in vaccine rollout speed, it is essential to investigate many factors: the amount of available vaccines, their scientific quality, their effectiveness in different ages and the scepticism of people. Besides, as in each sector of the economy leading bodies have to prioritize different vaccines based on their prices and efficiency. In this competition thinking, deciding and acting fast is crucial.


In the case of the European Union, the European Medicines Agency investigates every potential vaccine. Its plan is to vaccinate at least 80% of people aged over 80 by March 2021 and 70% of the entire adult population of member states by the summer of 2021. Until this point it has approved four types of vaccines: BioNTech and Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and the Johnson & Johson. Moreover, the EU’s institutions also examines five other potential vaccines such as CureVac or the Sputnik V. Besides, the great news of distinctive two-shot vaccines being able to stop infections, in 2021 Johnson&Johnson have been approved as the first single-shot vaccine effective against COVID-19. So far from these types the EU secured 1,860 million vaccines which are going to be offered to EU-countries on a per capita basis, so that countries can achieve herd immunity faster together. Counting with the 448 million inhabitants of the EU, herd immunity can be achieved by vaccinating 70% of citizens equal to approximately 314 million people. At the moment, in total EU countries reported vaccine rollouts equal to 4.2% of the entire EU population. The EU also defined the priority groups that have to be vaccinated firstly: healthcare and social-care workers, people aged over 80 and people with serious illnesses.

It is under consideration, whether before opening economies essential workers outside of healthcare and those who cannot social distance should be vaccinated too.

Not just people’s health but their existence is in question. Most countries fail to help their citizens as they are becoming unemployed. This means that people who worked in sectors affected hardly by the pandemic do not get any income, by which they cannot pay their rents, bills or even food for their families. For this reason, there are many protest in several countries to lift regulations and end lockdowns, even though this can produce many more infected people and threat the overwhelming of the healthcare system.


The economic recovery raised the treatment of the pandemic into a political contest. Countries are competing for economic growth and the expansion of their economies. As recently many leading EU countries halted the AstraZeneca vaccine rollouts such as Germany, Italy, France and Spain, the European Union can fall behind with openings. This process can make the job easier for the US and China in the final of this championship.

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