Germany’s biggest-selling newspaper has heaped praise on the UK’s COVID vaccine rollout, declaring on their front page: “We envy you!”
Alongside the Union flag and British newspaper headlines cheering Boris Johnson’s path out of lockdown, Bild wrote how the mass vaccinations taking place across the UK meant Britons are “just plain happy” and that “normal life is coming back”.
Bild said Brits have “reacted with overwhelming euphoria” to the path out of restrictions, adding: “The English have announced their return to normality on 21 June… and here there’s no hope.”
It added that Germany remained “stuck in lockdown”.
Over 18 million people in the UK have been vaccinated so far, nearly a third of the entire population.
However, numbers in the EU are not as encouraging with 28 million people being given the jab across the whole bloc – around 6% out of a combined population of 446 million.
The German figure of people who have had their first jab stands at around 3.5 million – in a population of over 83 million.
Watch: Merkel admits Germany 'not fast enough' to prevent second COVID wave
According to figures from the German health ministry and Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases, some 1.54 million Oxford doses have been delivered to Germany – with only 240,000 being used so far.
It comes as German chancellor Angela Merkel warned that the country was experiencing a “third wave” of coronavirus – threatening to derail lockdown easing in the country.
Germany’s current lockdown, which began in November, is set to end on 7 March – but regional leaders will discuss whether to extend restrictions on 3 March.
The vaccine rollout in the EU has been beset with problems, including criticism about the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab from French president Emmanuel Macron.
Macron previously claimed the vaccine was “quasi-ineffective on people older than 65, some say those 60 years or older”.
However, the vaccine has since been shown to have a high efficacy across all age groups.
Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission also suggested the UK compromised on the safety of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab.
She said earlier this month: “Some countries started to vaccinate a little before Europe, it is true. But they resorted to emergency, 24-hour marketing authorisation procedures.
“The commission and the member states agreed not to compromise with the safety and efficacy requirements linked to the authorisation of a vaccine. Time had to be taken to analyse the data, which, even minimised, takes three to four weeks.
“So, yes, Europe left it later, but it was the right decision. I remind you that a vaccine is the injection of an active biological substance into a healthy body. We are talking about mass vaccination here, it is a gigantic responsibility.”
However, von der Leyen has since been more publicly supportive of the jab while admonishing Macron for his comments, saying she would take it “without a second thought”.
Meanwhile, an Imperial College London and Ipsos MORI study, React-2, shows high confidence levels in the vaccine in the UK.
More than 90% of those surveyed reported that they would be willing to accept, or had already had a vaccination.
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