According to a person familiar with the matter, European officials indicated during an internal meeting that only part of the EU population can be inoculated against the new coronavirus before 2022, as reported in the Financial Post.
"There will not be sufficient doses of COVID-19 vaccines for the entire population before the end of 2021," a European Commission official told diplomats from EU states in a closed-door meeting earlier this week.
The EU Commission had earlier said vaccines will be limited "during the initial stages of deployment," but had never clarified how long the initial phase would last.
The 27-nation bloc has made advance purchases of more than 1 billion doses of potential COVID-19 vaccines from three drugmakers, while it is also negotiating similar deals for another billion vials with other companies.
Given a likely limited vaccine supply, the Commission has for months urged EU governments to devise vaccination plans that would prioritize vulnerable and essential groups, such as healthcare workers, the elderly or people with chronic diseases.
However, apart from a consensus on inoculating doctors and nurses, "there is no common line on other groups," the Commission official said at the internal meeting this week.