The United States just passed the 160 million figure for citizens who have received at least one Covid-19 shot.  Britain is about to reach the 40 million jab mark. Germany has only vaccinated 10 million, Ireland less than a million.

What story does this picture tell?  That Europe has bollixed up its vaccination program while Britain and the U.S. have really got their act together.

The European Union was founded on the notion that countries had more in common and could work together if they acted in unison, especially in a crisis.  The vaccine debacle from Germany to Italy, to Ireland, suggests strongly otherwise.

The centrality of power in Brussels assured that a massive bureaucratic logjam was likely inevitable given the sheer desperation shown in so many countries which wanted the vaccine.

Let's not forget the president of the European Commission is not even a democratically elected position.  Current occupant Ursula von der Leyen has proven to be in over her head, not too surprising as it seems she was a lousy German cabinet minister before messing up in Europe too.

The lack of clear and unequivocal leadership from Europe was soon very evident when the plague hit.  Huge errors were made in tracking available supplies and ensuring their distribution. 

Lists went into great detail about who could be vaccinated and who could not. The result was utter confusion and little cooperation.

In Ireland, the government approval rating for its handling of Covid has slumped from the high seventies to low forties. Frankly, there is still mass confusion and a blatant lack of leadership.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.

The latest decision to move to an age cohort system rather than prioritize front-line professions such as teachers and police has led to a strike threat by teachers. What a fine mess.

The victims are the millions in Ireland waiting anxiously for their shot at a time when Europe’s most restrictive lockdown has forced them to live cheek by jowl with a maximum journey of five kilometers from their homes allowed.

It is a dreadful price to pay for ensuring the virus does not spread as rapidly as it did when they lifted the lockdown over the Christmas period which had its own awful consequence.

Ireland has been reduced to discussing with the British when they are finished vaccinating if some of the surplus supply could be rerouted to the Irish. The British are open to the suggestion.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who looked downright foolish and grasping when he led Britain out of Europe, suddenly looks like one of the smartest leaders in the room. His decision to press ahead with vaccines and remove as much bureaucracy as possible has paid off handsomely.

In the United States President Joe Biden has also shown what a difference a leader makes, pushing vaccinations, creating supply chains, and delivering on-time medicines.  No more do we have to listen to the mad mumbling of Dr. Scott Atlas, Donald Trump’s Covid “czar” whose expertise was in radiology.

There are still millions of Americans who distrust vaccines and other preventive measures, but they should really learn from Asia, Australia, and New Zealand where they are no longer playing whack a mole with vaccine strategy as they still are in Europe and Ireland.

When the crisis is finally in the rearview mirror some invaluable lessons will be remembered, hopefully. 

First, you have to take calculated risks, as Johnson did so fearlessly, and correct the mistakes later. The 100 percent codified, sliced and diced, examined everywhere, and double guessed by many European leader's approach proved disastrous.

What it comes down to is, when leaders lead progress will follow, as the actions of Johnson and Biden show.  When leaders dither and hesitate there can be dreadful consequences.  Just ask the Irish.