A SEVENTY PERCENT AVERAGE. That’s the part of the EU population that got fully vaccinated today 31 August 2021. Over 256 million adults (aged 18 years and above). A crucial milestone.

Ursula von der Leyen: “The full vaccination of 70% of adults in the EU in August is a great achievement”

Says the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen: “The full vaccination of 70% of adults in the EU in August is a great achievement. The EU’s strategy of moving forward together is paying off and putting Europe at the vanguard of the global fight against COVID-19.”

EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, puts it in a similar vein: “I am very pleased that as of today we have reached our goal to vaccinate 70% of EU adults before the end of summer. This is a collective achievement of the EU and its Member States.”

This admirable achievement is what comes of working together “with solidarity and coordination,” according to Kyriakides.

It isn’t that everyone has been moving toward the goal of what used to be the pre-new variant immunity at a uniform speed. Which goal was set last January.

While some member states have forged ahead, others have lagged behind.

Report of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

Full vaccination in the EU/EEA as a percentage of the adult population of each country as of 22 August 2021.

70% of the population or more

1. Malta 90%
2. Iceland 86.5%
3. Ireland 85.5%
4. Belgium 82.5%
5. Portugal 81.6%
6. Spain 75.6%
7. Netherlands 75.7%
8. Cyprus 71.9%
9. France 71.1%
9. Luxemburg 70.9%
10. Germany 70.6%

Lower than 50% of the population
1. Slovenia 49.8%
2. Slovakia 48.7%
3. Croatia 46.8%
4. Latvia 45.5%
5. Romania 31.9%
6. Bulgaria 19.3%


Given the above, Kyriakides promises that “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.”

She adds: “Vaccinations must win the race over variants.”

Global solidarity

The rapid, full vaccination of all targeted populations in Europe and globally is key to controlling the impact of the pandemic. The EU, which has exported about half of the vaccines produced in Europe to countries outside the Union, is leading in multilateral response to the pandemic.

The EU has exported about half of the vaccines produced in Europe to countries outside the Union and is leading in multilateral response to the pandemic

Launched in April 2020 as part of the EU’s global response to the Covid-19 pandemic and consisting of the European Union and its Member States, as well as the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Team Europe has contributed close to €3 billion for the COVAX Facility to help secure at least 1.8 billion doses for 92 low and lower middle-income countries. Currently, over 200 million doses have been delivered by COVAX to 138 countries.

COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, better known as COVAX, is a worldwide initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. It is directed by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and the World Health Organization.

Team Europe aims to share at least 200 million more doses of vaccines from the EU’s advance purchase agreements to low and middle-income countries until the end of 2021, in particular through COVAX, as part of the EU sharing efforts.

EU Member States are free to resell or donate doses to non-EU countries in need, directly or through the COVAX Facility. Whichever is their choice, they will be contributing to fair access to vaccines across the world.

The EU might be over the hump now but President Von der Leyen stresses the fact that the pandemic is not over. Thus, she urges “everyone who can to get vaccinated.” The EU needs 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.”


The challenge of the new variants

Delta variant countries. From darkest to palest red: 100,000 confirmed Delta cases to 1-9 confirmed cases. Grey: No confirmed case or no data available. December 2020.

Faced with the threat of new variants, the EU places a premium on ensuring the availability of sufficient vaccines, including adapted vaccines, in the coming years. Accordingly, the Commission signed a new contract with BioNTech-Pfizer on 20 May, which envisages the supply of 1.8 billion doses of vaccines between the end of 2021 and 2023. Additionally, the Commission is exercising its option to purchase 150 million doses in the EU’s second Moderna contract.

Other contracts may follow.

This is the EU’s common insurance policy against any future waves of COVID-19.

Text source: EU European Commission, CC BY4.0


Featured image (Plant on red background)/Marek Piwnicki, from Unsplash. Text supplied
Von der Leyen/Union Europea en Peru, CC BY2.0 via Wikipedia
Medical personnel/Jernej Furna, CC BY2.0. Text supplied
EU and EU member state emblems/Gordon Johnson from Pixabay
Delta countries/TapticInfo, CC BY-SA4.0


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