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Merkel wants more EU self-reliance over Covid-19 vaccine production

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Merkel wants more EU self-reliance over Covid-19 vaccine production
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel is calling on vaccine manufacturing countries like India to join the debate on making Europe more self-sufficient.

She said emerging economies had to be protected but that if reliability couldn't be guaranteed there would have to be a rethink.

"For many years, we have not treated our pharmaceutical industry in Europe so very well," Merkel said at a conference of EU conservative parties.

"We have had outflows to America, and the United States of America has probably the strongest pharmaceutical industry, at least in the Western world. And that's why they've been able to quickly ramp up production capacities. And I am very happy that we have production facilities in Belgium, in Holland, in Germany and France, Spain."

However, the German leader said the consequences must be weighed because Europe doesn't want to damage the economies of emerging countries.

For the moment Europe is concentrating on using up the vaccine supplies it does have as quickly as possible.

The aim is to have 70% of EU adult citizens vaccinated by July.

In Romania, a drop-in vaccine centre has been set up in Timisoara for those who want the jab but have no appointment.

Five hundred medical volunteers are in place to administer 13,000 Pfizer vaccines over several days.

The same will happen again to give the second jab in three weeks' time.