EU says 70% of its citizens are now fully vaccinated

EU says 70% of its citizens are now fully vaccinated
Countries in the EU are battling a surge in Covid-19 cases driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant

The EU has fully vaccinated 70 per cent of its adult population against Covid-19, the 27-member bloc’s president Ursula von der Leyen said on Tuesday.

The EU had set the target to vaccinate 70 per cent of its population by the “end of the summer”, first implied to be at the end of September. Although the EU’s vaccination drive began at a slower pace due to lack of supply, the bloc said in July that 70 per cent of its citizens had received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine.

In a video message shared on social media, Ms Von der Leyen said that “today we reached an important milestone in our vaccination campaign”.

“Seventy per cent of adults in the EU are now fully vaccinated and that means 250 million people are fully immunised. This is a great achievement,” she said.

“But we must go further! We need more Europeans to vaccinate rapidly to stop the spread of infections and stop more variants from emerging. And we need to help the rest of the world vaccinate, too. We’ll continue supporting our partners,” she added.

Countries in the EU have been struggling to contain the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus, which has led to a spike in positive cases. Daily average hospital admissions across the bloc have risen over 100,000 for the first time since last winter, the BBC reported.

One concern is the contrast in vaccination rates between the various member states of the EU.

While Malta has fully vaccinated over 90 per cent of its adult population and Ireland and Portugal have administered jabs to over 80 per cent, data from the European Centre for Disease prevention and Control showed Bulgaria vaccinated just a fifth of its population and Romania only 30 per cent of its adults.

The World Health Organisation on Monday warned of an additional 236,000 deaths in Europe by 1 December because of stagnating vaccination rates.

WHO Europe director Hans Kluge told news agency AFP that the Delta variant was partly to blame, along with an “exaggerated easing of restrictions” and surge in summer travel.

“In the past six weeks, (the rate of vaccination) has fallen by 14 per cent, influenced by a lack of access to vaccines in some countries and a lack of vaccine acceptance in others,” he said.

The bloc recently recommended that citizens of the US and five other countries should be banned from non-essential travel to its member states. The guidance also applied to Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro and the Republic of North Macedonia.

The European Council, the EU’s decision-making body, had in June recommended that the bloc lift restrictions on non-essential travellers from 14 countries, including the US.

Europe has so far reported 64,991,125 confirmed Covid cases and around 1.3 million related deaths.


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