On paper, the EU is well prepared to secure the protection of its 450 million citizens from the Covid-19 virus now ravaging the Continent. By late December, the European Commission, acting on behalf of all 27 member states, had ordered a total of 2.47 million doses of vaccine from seven different manufacturers.

That’s enough to provide every one of its 450 million citizens with a cocktail of five doses each. Just this week, it announced a further order of 300 million doses of the top-rated BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine.

Sadly, Covid is not likely to be defeated on paper, and in practise the EU is falling far behind in its bid to keep up with progress around the world.