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EU's von der Leyen admits to failings in vaccine fight

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen acknowledged failings on Wednesday in the EU's approval and rollout of vaccines against COVID-19, and said the bloc had learned lessons in the process.
The chief of the EU executive was speaking to lawmakers in the European Parliament following criticism of the slow roll-out of vaccines and a plan to curb exports that initially sought to set up a hard border on the island of Ireland, causing an outcry in London and Dublin.
Von der Leyen, who has also spoken at five groupings of EU lawmakers over the past 10 days, said 26 million vaccine doses had been delivered and that, by the end of the summer, 70% of adults in the 27-nation bloc should have been inoculated.
"And yet it is a fact that we are not today where we want to be in the fight against the virus," she told EU lawmakers.
"We were late with the approval. We were too optimistic on mass production. And perhaps we were also too certain that the orders would actually be delivered on time," she said.
Von der Leyen said mistakes were also made leading up to the decision on export curbs.
"I deeply regret that," she said, adding that the Commission would do its utmost to protect peace in Northern Ireland.
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