Leaders of the European Union on Saturday said that the bloc’s
coronavirus vaccination program has reached a higher proportion of its people
than in the US, which had outpaced the group for months.

“We promised it and it’s done. The EU this week
overtook the US as the continent with the most first doses in the world,” EU
Commissioner Thierry Breton wrote on Twitter.

Citing statistics website Our World in Data, France‘s Europe
Minister Clement Beaune wrote that the EU had now given 55.5% of people a first
dose, compared with 55.4% across the Atlantic.

The EU COVID-19 vaccination drive was lagging behind the UK
and the US in early 2021 and the rollout strategy was widely criticised. The
leaders of the bloc attributed for lack of supply for the slow start to the

But Breton, who runs a group working on boosting vaccine
production and supply, said that the EU had now overtaken its transatlantic
rival while “remaining #open and exporting half of our production to 100+
countries”, hailing “efficiency and solidarity” on Europe’s

At the height of the vaccine scheme’s teething troubles, EU
Commission president Ursula von der Leyen had in February acknowledged mistakes
by the Brussels authority.

She nevertheless insisted that “the battle against the
pandemic is not a sprint, but a marathon”.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the US is seeing a sharp
decline in vaccinations even as cases related to the Delta variant of COVID-19
are on the rise, especially in the states with low vaccination rates.