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Tyler Cowen

Why Europe’s Vaccine Politics Are Worse Than America’s

Could a bungled distribution process bring down the European Union?

Waiting for vaccine in Berlin.

Waiting for vaccine in Berlin.


All politics is becoming vaccine politics. But vaccines are turning out to be more scarce in Europe, so the politics there will turn out to be more vicious than in the U.S.

There has been rioting in the Netherlands, mostly in protest of lockdowns, which are in place because the European Union did not order enough vaccines and there are few other tools to limit the spread of Covid-19. Portugal has been reporting a record number of Covid cases, but has few vaccines to spare beyond its health-care workers. Production glitches have slowed down the AstraZeneca vaccine, and there are rumors that the EU may impose export controls on the Pfizer doses made in Europe, which could hit the U.K. hard.