POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - POLITICS

Covid pandemic

70% of EU adult population now fully vaccinated



European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said that the pandemic is not over and has called “on everyone who can to get vaccinated” European Union (screengrab)

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said that the pandemic is not over and has called “on everyone who can to get vaccinated” European Union (screengrab)

On 31 August, the EU reached a crucial milestone in the fight against covid-19 and its variants.

In total, over 256 million adults in the EU have now received a full vaccine course.

“The full vaccination of 70% of adults in the EU already in August is a great achievement,” said European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen. “The EU's strategy of moving forward together is paying off and putting Europe at the vanguard of the global fight against covid-19.  But the pandemic is not over. We need more. I call on everyone who can to get vaccinated. And we need to help the rest of the world vaccinate, too. Europe will continue to support its partners in this effort, in particular the low and middle income countries.”

Scientists agree that the rapid and full vaccination of all targeted populations is key to controlling the impact of the pandemic. But commissioner for health and food safety Stella Kyriakides says that the collective achievement among the 27 members states does not mean that the union can rest on its laurels. “Our efforts to further increase vaccinations across the EU will continue unabated. We will continue to support in particular those Member States that are continuing to face challenges. We need to close the immunity gap and the door for new variants and to do so, vaccinations must win the race over variants.”

The Commission has signed contracts with BioNTech-Pfizer, which foresees the delivery of 1.8 billion doses of vaccines between the end of the year and 2023. It has also exercised the option of 150 million doses of the second Moderna contract and says other contracts may follow.

In addition to inoculating its own population, the commission says the EU has exported about half of the vaccines produced in Europe to other countries. A contribution of close to €3 billion has been dedicated to the Covax facility and helped secure at least 1.8 billion doses for 92 low and lower middle-income countries.