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The European Union has achieved its goal of administering the full COVID-19 vaccine dosage to 70 % of its adult population by the end of the summer, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Tuesday.
“70% of adults in EU are fully vaccinated. I want to thank the many people making this great achievement possible. But we must go further! We need more Europeans to vaccinate. And we need to help the rest of the world vaccinate, too. We’ll continue supporting our partners,” she wrote on the social network Twitter.
Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides welcomed this as “an important milestone” in efforts to end the pandemic but also insisted that they will have to continue to vaccinate, fight misinformation on this issue and follow public health measures.
“We will not stop here. The new variants make it necessary for us to go beyond 70 % to be safe. We need to be one step ahead. We need to urgently address the worrying vaccination gap between our member states and be ready to deploy booster vaccines if the scientific evidence shows this is the way forward,” she said in a statement released by her cabinet.
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The European Commission, which is in charge of centralizing vaccine purchases for EU states, had set a target earlier this year to vaccinate 70 % of the adult population, some 255 million people, by the end of the summer.
After a slow start to the campaign due to vaccine shortages, delivery delays and the temporary suspension of the administration of AstraZeneca in some countries, Brussels managed to deliver the necessary doses to the States in July, which have also been accelerating and perfecting their vaccination strategies.
However, rates vary widely among the EU-27, with Ireland leading the way with 85.5% of its adult population fully vaccinated, followed by Denmark (83.5 %) and Portugal (82.4%), while Bulgaria (20%), Romania (31.9%) and Latvia (45.5%) are at the bottom, according to data from the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC).
Spain, one of the most developed countries, has already administered the full course of the vaccine to 76.7% of adults and 87.6 % have at least one dose.
Although many states have not yet reached the 70% mark, the EU is already considering whether a booster dose should be administered, although the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has not yet made a decision on whether it will be necessary.
If this is the case, the European Commissioner for the Single Market, Thierry Breton, assures that there would be no shortage of vaccines since the EU has increased its manufacturing capacity and now generates “300 million doses per month.”
In the second half of the year, the European Commission will deliver 950 million doses to the Member States, according to Breton in an interview with French public television last week.