London CNN  — 

As Western Europe’s vaccination rollout gained strength in the early part of 2021, many of the region’s leaders touted the shots as their immediate route out of the pandemic.

Press conferences took on an almost celebratory tone as Presidents, Prime Ministers and Chancellors announced road maps away from Covid-19 restrictions, hailing their country’s uptake rates and speaking colorfully about a return to normalcy.

But as another Covid-struck winter grips Europe, many of those countries are now reversing course.

Ireland introduced a midnight curfew on the hospitality industry earlier this week amid a surge in cases, despite having one of Europe’s best vaccination rates. In Portugal – the envy of the continent, where 87% of the total population is inoculated – the government is mulling new measures as infections inch upwards.

Britain has meanwhile endured a lengthy and stubborn wave of infections despite its Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, often trum