How the EU Bungled the Vaccine [with comment by Paul]

Most Americans probably don’t know it, but the European Union rollout of covid vaccines has been a fiasco. Now that a Democrat is safely in the White House, the story of how much better the U.S. has performed can be told. Watch for it, coming soon to the New York Times. This is from Steve’s post immediately below:

Equally interesting, however, is what has happened within Europe. At the Telegraph, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard quotes Die Zeit to the effect that the EU’s vaccine rollout is “the best advertisement for Brexit.”

What has the EU done wrong? Partly it was misplaced priorities:

Rather than spend months trying to drive down the price – when the imperative was time – the Commission should have done the opposite. Germany’s IFO Institute said it should have paid a dose premium to bring forward production since the cost of pandemic measures in lost GDP is hundreds of times greater. IFO calculates that the economic utility of each shot is €1,500.

The EU treated Big Pharma as the enemy when it should have been pulling out all the stops to help these companies.

And partly it was the arrogance and lack of accountability of the EU, which is not really a democracy:

The vaccine saga exposes a great number of EU pathologies, starting with the breathtaking absence of apology. Heads would roll in a democratic state. The EU’s constitutional structure shields the executive from accountability. Ursula von der Leyen breezily insisted yesterday that the handling of vaccine procurement had been a great success.

Self-congratulation is always a viable option, especially when you never have to face voters.

The case for totalitarianism and for its little brother, rule by certified “experts,” has always revolved around efficiency. And yet history has shown that seemingly messy democratic countries, like ours, do better than authoritarian states, both year in and year out, and especially in times of crisis.

When the world looks back on the Wuhan virus, the story will have heroes and villains. The villains likely will include Dr. Fauci, who was in considerable part responsible for the dangerous virus research that was carried out, with American funding, at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, increasingly regarded as the probable source of covid. And is there any doubt that Hero #1 will be President Trump, who lowered regulatory barriers and partnered with private industry to produce not just one, but multiple vaccines in record-smashing time?

PAUL ADDS: As is clear from the chart in John’s post, the UK is doing quite well, comparatively, when it comes to vaccinating its population. Why? Because it got a head start on the rest of Europe, and a slight head start on the U.S., in early December.

Why? Because it had the good sense to leave the EU. Had it not done so, the EU bureaucracy would have held the Brits back and the the UK would be lagging with the rest of Europe.

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