US, EU say vaccine programs on track as global deaths hit 2.5 million


The United States on Thursday hailed progress in turning around its troubled Covid-19 vaccine rollout, and the European Union said it was also on track to meet jab targets as global coronavirus deaths topped 2.5 million. Brazil hit 250,000 fatalities — the second-highest national death toll after the US — while the worldwide vaccine campaign received the royal endorsement of Queen Elizabeth II, 94, who urged people not to be wary of the injection. President Joe Biden declared the US rollout is now “weeks ahead of schedule” as he celebrated 50 million vaccines administered since he took office on January 20, but he warned Americans to keep masking up. “We’re moving in the right direction despite the mess we inherited,” Biden said, referring to the program under his predecessor Donald Trump. The United States is the world’s hardest-hit country, with coronavirus deaths crossing the 500,000 mark earlier this week. Biden said that there would be “enough supply” for all adult Americans by the end of July.

The EU announced Thursday it expected to vaccinate 70 percent of adults by the end of the summer, after months of problems and friction. European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said fully vaccinating just under three-quarters of adults by late summer was a “goal that we’re confident with.”

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