Is Europe seeking herd immunity, or just culling the herd?

The first vaccine against the Wuhan virus was developed by a German biotech company, BioNTech, in partnership with American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

So why is the vaccination rate in Germany stuck at 4% while the American vaccination rate is now quadruple that? Throughout Europe, it’s much the same story. The vaccination rate is 4% in France, Spain, Sweden and Italy, and 5% in Finland, Greece, Poland and Norway.

Only the UK, now separate from the EU, is doing well with a vaccination rate of 27% after approving the vaccine weeks before the FDA did in the U.S. (with the same data that the FDA ultimately based its approval on, it should be noted).

Unsurprisingly, this dawdling on the Continent has an effect: death. While the death rates have come down from January’s peak wave, daily new cases and daily deaths in the EU remain stubbornly high. In contrast, in the UK where the vaccine is really rolling, daily new cases are down by three-quarters and daily deaths are down two-thirds.

Europe is not a technologically primitive place. Switzerland is a center of pharmaceuticals. Europe is wealthy, educated and has government healthcare systems that many in the U.S. hold up as models.

The conventional explanation for the EU’s bungling is that they were caught up in bureaucratic in-fighting, squabbles between member countries and EU red tape.

While the EU fiddled, President Trump was acting. He publicly downplayed the virus last winter (as did nearly everyone else) but behind the scenes he signed purchase contracts to commit to the U.S. the manufacturing capacity of Pfizer and other vaccine makers and spent billions on Operation Warp Speed to speed the approval process.  

(Disclosure note: I was a patient volunteer in Pfizer’s clinical trials. I’ve now received both shots of Pfizer’s vaccine.)

Red tape and bureaucratic incompetence are undoubtedly part of the vaccine problem in the EU, but perhaps there’s more.

Much of Europe provides government long term care – nursing homes – for its elderly population. This results in a lot of nursing homes with a lot of residents compared to the U.S. where the elderly more often stay in their own homes and where those who do move to nursing homes usually pay for it themselves or with family funds. The taxpayer expenditure to pay for the nursing home entitlement in Europe is double to quadruple the burden in the U.S.

Given that the Wuhan virus victims are overwhelmingly unproductive elderly people who cost the EU governments dearly, is it possible that the EU incompetence in rolling out the vaccines was simply benign neglect, or worse? And is it possible that all this was with the tacit approval of the EU citizens?

In at least Italy, that seems to be the case. The prestigious medical journal Lancet describes the Italian nursing home imbroglio as “abandonment” by government, staff and citizens due to “high costs.”  This created what other media have characterized as a “silent massacre.”

Welcome to socialized medicine, where medical care for the weakest among us is subordinated to governmental cost containment, bureaucratic bungling and citizen indifference.

17 thoughts on “Is Europe seeking herd immunity, or just culling the herd?

  1. The most logical explanation I have heard about the origins of the WuFlu is that China developed it to deal with the demographic time bomb they created with their 1 child policy, which has led to millions of senior citizen grandparents in need of expensive care and far fewer grandchildren to pay for it. There has never been a “natural” virus that is so perfectly suited to killing off the weak and elderly who take from the welfare state but pay little or no taxes into the welfare state, which would suggest it was designed in a lab to achieve that desired result. I don’t think it takes much imagination to understand that the finance ministers in the EU have decided to not let this crisis go to waste by allowing this designer virus to take care of their own demographic time bomb.

    • The Chinese may have been developing it for some purpose when it accidentally escaped, but I doubt that the virus that got out is even a beta-test version. My guess is it was an alpha-test version, and they were developing it to release in the USA at a future date. The reason I doubt that the Wuhan virus was anything close to a finished product is that it simply isn’t lethal enough. It has characteristics that give it potential, but needs lots of work to become a real weapon.

  2. I often wonder if Cuomo wasn’t similarly motivated. NYC is as much like Europe (and so some extent, China) as we have in the US – a terrible demographic problem, and terrible budget problems, with an electorate that would happily sacrifice someone else’s parents to insure their own continued access to the public trough.

    I used to tell my kids, “Someday, when your generation figures out how bad my generation fucked you over (with deficit spending), you’ll be hunting us with dogs. All I ask: Allow me to hide in your crawl space”. It never occurred to me that our children’s generation would be orders of magnitude more irresponsible than we were. I lay the responsibility for this multi-generational train wreck at the feet of FDR

  3. Maybe the Europeans are more circumspect than are the Americans about injecting anything into their body that lacks proper safety, efficacy, and long term follow up tests and data.

    • Maybe. But I’m skeptical that the average European is able to assess the risk of the vaccine better than PhD/MD epidemiologists in Europe, the U.S. and the rest of the world who’ve seen safety and efficacy after administering over 100 million doses, who’ve nearly universally taken the vaccine themselves, and who’ve recommend that you and everyone else do so too.

  4. We have it on fact-checked authority that there was no vaccine until Joe Biden was installed as president. Well, “CNN fact checked”. Also that Biden and Harris had to “start from scratch” on the distribution. Someone should probably inform US Army General Gus “Scratch” Perna.

  5. On the other hand, it might not be so sinister – at least in the EU. All those state run health systems play hardball with the drug companies on pricing, which is why drugs are always cheaper outside the US which pays full price (and why a disproportionate share of new medicines are developed and first available in the US). Thus the slow roll-out might just be caused by the broke EU healthcare system waiting for vaccine prices to drop before make the big purchases.

  6. Ho-hum. We’ve had so many forms of “the necessary murder” since W.H. Auden coined that phrase in 1937 that this one hardly raises an eyebrow, compared, say, to what goes on in our abortuaries.

    One thing is clear: womb-to-tomb socialism is particularly adept at killing us at both ends of the spectrum, where the screams are silent. It makes the old-fashioned “liquidation of undesirables” in death camps and gulags seem primitive and clumsy.

  7. Now they’re talking about blocking exports of the vaccine to keep them in the EU. Switzerland isn’t a member so I wonder how they will do that. Moderna’s vaccine is made in Spain. What a mess.

    • Assuming that you’re referring to the picture of sheep and not his portrait pic, I’ll take a stab at why you might ask such a question.

      First, I’ll demur by saying that if Glenn is a sheep, then so are at least six members of The Supreme Court who denied “cert” to the Texas and Pennsylvania election challenges (something I’d love to hear Glenn’s thoughts on) and about one-third of the Republican Party — those who put up with the laughable assertion that there was an armed “insurrection” on January 6 and with having an army of National Guardsmen indefinitely patrolling a razor-wire perimeter surrounded by absolutely no one. Sheep these people may be in my eyes, but it’s a collection of very accomplished sheep indeed, whose “sheepishness” may contain a kernel of wisdom, as hidden as that may be from my understanding.

      Still, it has struck me that since accepting, almost without question, the bizarre phenomenon of the November 3rd election, urging Trump to get lost, and then reassuring us that the Dems will quickly overplay their hand and return us to more responsible governance in the near future, Glenn has confined himself to a string of commentaries on “safe,” relatively sterile subjects such as all-things Covid, Elon Musk and the nature of human intelligence, thinking for oneself, and so on. From my perspective, the woods are burning a block from his house, and he seems strangely unalarmed.

      To me this is incongruous and makes me wonder whether he, too, doesn’t feel the Cancel Culture breathing just over his shoulder. Just how long a tether does he have from WordPress, his chosen platform?

      It’s his blog, of course, and I’m always better off for reading it, but like you (I think) I want more.

      • Goodness, I’m not sure what I said that set you off. Just saying that as a fellow cynic I think Glenn’s suspicions are most likely right.

      • I try to read the words put in front of me, Mary. A cynic is, quite literally, someone with a curved upper lip, like that of a snarling dog or sneering skeptic. That’s not what I see on a sheep, a creature associated with passive acceptance. But now you say that you and Glenn are both cynics, and since I’m a cynic, I guess “we’re good,” as they say.

  8. If this is true then the EU’s neglect, undoubtedly rife with lots of plausible deniability, is reminiscent of that 70’s era sci-fi dystopia movie Soylent Green in which Edward G.Robinson’s character Sol decides to go Home after discovering the unappetizing truth.

    • I think you may be on to something, but please not so loud. I fear the party currently holding power, the Bolos (short for Bolsheviks), will wholeheartedly embrace it. After all one only needs to look at the other cockamamie ideas they have publicly come up with to see they’re completely off their sticks.

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