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Vaccine Chief Says Herd Immunity Will Happen By Mid-July

Tuesday 6 April, in the Parisian suburb of Saint-Denis, queues were forming around the famous Stade de France–but not to see legendary soccer players Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann, but to receive a dose of Covid-19 vaccine. As reported in Le Monde, two medical students, Majed et Ilyes, shouted out, dites-leur de venir nous voir nous faire vacciner! (tell them to come watch us get vaccinated).

It’s great news for France, at the start of a 4-week school and shop closure, which expects the crest of the third wave of infections to hit by mid-April. Health officials plan to inoculate 10,000 people each week as the country’s vaccination campaign begins to hit its stride.

So whilst many EU countries are fighting a third wave of Covid-19 infection rates and the roll out of vaccination programs got off to a slow start, it is picking up. So much so, that the man charged with the EU vaccination campaign, Thierry Breton, is confident that herd immunity will be achieved by mid-July. Which might be just in time for the summer travel industry.

Breton told Le Parisian that the 450,000 residents across Europe should receive enough doses to get where the continent needs to be by 14 July. “Fourteen million doses were delivered to the EU in January, 28 million in February and 60 million in March. For the next quarter, we will increase to 100 million in April, May and June. Then 120 million in the summer, and we will reach a rate of 200 million from September,” he said, as translated in The Local.

On 31 March, the World Health Organisation criticised the EU’s vaccine rollout and called it “unacceptably slow” suggesting that it was prolonging the pandemic. Breton, however, laid the blame squarely at the AstraZeneca laboratory saying that the EU had not been sent the vaccines it ordered. “If we had received 100% of the AstraZeneca vaccines we were contractually owed, today the EU would be at the same level as the U.K. in terms of vaccination,” Breton said. “I can confirm that this hole is due entirely to AstraZeneca’s delivery failures.”

The EU is due to receive shots of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from 19 April; it has signed a deal for 200 million doses across all EU countries with an option of 200 million more.

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