Coronavirus vaccine: European Union citizens receive their jabs
It comes after protests erupted in the Netherlands on Sunday following the introduction of new tougher COVID-19 restrictions in the country. Demonstrators set fires, looted stores and clashed with police officers in cities across the Netherlands.
The protests resulted in more than 240 arrested, according to the Dutch police.
Water cannons, dogs and mounted officers were all used by the police to disperse a protest in Amsterdam on Sunday afternoon.
Anger has boiled up across Europe due to delays of distribution of the coronavirus vaccine and prolonged lockdown restrictions.
The UK has administered more than 10 doses per 100 residents while the EU has fallen behind with under two doses per 100 residents, according to reports.
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On Friday, European officials said the first-quarter deliveries of AstraZeneca’s vaccine was likely to be cut by more than half.
The EU Health Commissioner said there was “deep dissatisfaction” at the news.
The bloc was expected to receive 100 million doses by the end of March.
However, reports suggest the EU is now due to get as few as 40 million in that time period.
A spokesman for AstraZeneca said “initial volumes will be lower than originally anticipated”.
The spokesman did not provide any further details of the delay.
It came after deliveries of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine had also been hit by production delays.
Patrick Pelloux, chairman of the French Association of Accident and Emergency Doctors, told The Times vaccine riots could erupt over the jab delays.
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He said: “People want to be vaccinated. I am at Hôtel-Dieu hospital [in Paris] and we have loads of people who are coming here spontaneously without an appointment, who can’t get an appointment on the internet, who are telephoning numbers that don’t answer.
“The situation is explosive. I think we can’t rule out riots [by people] wanting to be vaccinated.”
Italy’s Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, said the vaccine supply delays were “unacceptable”.
Mr Conte has accused Pfizer and AstraZeneca of serious contract violations.
In a post on Facebook, Mr Conte wrote: “Our vaccination plan … has been drawn up on the basis of contractual pledges freely undertaken by pharmaceutical companies with the European Commission.”
He added: “Such delays in deliveries represent serious contractual violations, which cause enormous damage to Italy and other countries.”
In the UK, official data shows that 6.353 million people have received their first COVID-19 jab.
Britain’s supplies from AstraZeneca have not been affected by the delays at the Novasep factory in Belgium.
Germany’s Health Minister, Jens Spahn, has urged for calm over the vaccine delays.
He told German media: “Criticism is correct . . . But we should be careful that 2021 is not the year of blame.”
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